Sunday, February 11, 2018

Five Minutes


This is the worst thing that's ever going to happen to me. I sit with that knowledge for a while.

I'm 36 years old and this is my one cross to bear. Everybody gets a tragedy.

If I survive this, I will not be waiting for the other shoe to drop. There is no other shoe.

I feel a measure of what seems a little like comfort. I hold on. I can just about do this. This is what passes for okay news now.

Except that it takes me almost no time to realize that the floor underneath me is fake.

There is no one in charge here. There is no one doling out trouble, one per person, one at a time, only what that person can handle.

There is no universe that owes me a damn thing. Shit is random. Nobody is organizing it. Nobody is making sure anything is fair.

Years later, this is still my greatest tragedy but I'm no stranger to bad news. I'm that person who walks into eyes of hurricanes. I don't look away. I'd do that for you. You wouldn't even have to ask.

Not everything is bad. Some people died. Others survived. The survivors are here with me now. They turn up at the most opportune times. They say wise things. The kindness of other people!

I laugh so hard I almost forget to breathe. I see beauty in rubbish and sidewalk cracks.

With everything bitter there is some sweet. I still don't know what's going to happen, though.

Bring it on, I say to all of it.


From the archives:
Hospital Corridor 

All of the roads they did lead here
The very second you lost me

Friday, February 2, 2018

Overcast




I wake up miserable. It has no home. It just is. 
I don’t want to feel this way. I try negotiating. It stays put.

A while later I say okay, remember this. Part of life is being able to tolerate these emotions. I forgot this for a little while. I’ve been working on it but it isn’t second nature yet.

I feel better. But I also feel tired from all this work.

Then a third possibility emerges. I’m on the subway when that happens. If it weren’t for iPads I’d have a notebook and pen to write it all down.

Stay open. All emotions ebb and flow whether I work with them or just sit there doing nothing. Let the rest of whatever the day has in store lift me. 

Yes, there’s a chance it could put me lower. It’s possible that the misery is a premonition. Or that random bad things happen. But I can still have an eye toward the horizon. An unexpected kindness, an exchange.

Be a satellite. Let the day do its thing. It could end very differently than it began.


You might also enjoy:
Suffer The Words
The High Cost Of Being Me
No Trophies

Monday, January 22, 2018

Picture Edit


It’s good. I can see that.

The lines are there. So are the composition, saturated palette and light. The filmy Christmas lights hung on the awning add a bit of whimsy - I could go as far as to say light irony - to the photograph. This keeps it from being too precious, too conventional, too full of itself. The rest of it is just the right kind of majestic.

Everything that years of working, failing, then trying again and succeeding are there.

This could be a welcome addition to my series.

I don’t feel the way I should about it. There’s no quickened heartbeat, crack of the bat against the ball and powerful arc signaling a home run. There’s no thrill in having captured it.

Like everybody, I spend my days in compromise. Maybe I cut a corner here, stay longer than I want, say yes when I mean no, exert willpower. My life is good. None of it is over my head. Not really.

But with photography, I’ve got to be all the way in. It gets to have my whole heart. If there is exactitude with love then here is where that is.

With this I get to have the orchestra, the breathlessness, the purity.

So I go ahead and delete it. I don’t regret it. Soon after, I don’t think about this image anymore. It’s stunning how quickly that happens.

You might also enjoy:
I walked to the end of the driveway

Chicken Scratch
My Future Crappy Work

Monday, January 15, 2018

Rations


I ask you a question.

Your reply is short. You smile politely. It is clear you consider this query answered. It’s a curt sentence, but a sentence nonetheless. I have to admit that.

The air is thin in here now.

Dismissive, I say to myself.

I watch you thinking. Then you decide to elaborate.

You say some more. You become animated. It’s like you went from black and white to color. I feel my own color returning.

Not dismissive, I say to myself.


From the archives:
Yes, Please

The High Cost Of Being Me
The Best Thing Someone Never Said to Me

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I make it there eventually


I’m on the subway and in spite of being a seasoned New Yorker, I make a rookie mistake. I get on the train at the wrong platform and now I’m going downtown instead of uptown. Furthermore, I’m in such a daydreamy, contemplative fantasy land that I don’t realize the error until I’m good and far from where I wanted to be. Instead of progress I’ve gone backwards. Negative progress.

I correct things and get on the right train. I spend a minute or two berating myself for possible undiagnosed and under-treated ADD, then catch myself and get negative about that.

I spot a friend who I haven’t seen in a long time. People who don’t live in NYC think that we never run into people here. What are the chances? But the truth is we do. All the time.

The friend has to get off in three stops so we have a micro interaction. A lot gets exchanged though.

He doesn’t recognize me initially. I’ve been worried about this very scenario lately. I’m wearing some newish clothes that flatter me, makeup that fits with a makeup-no makeup trend I’ve been following and in spite of needing a trim, I’m having a good hair day.

You look so good! He says. This is an entirely new look for you. Maybe he was being polite but I take him at face value. I liked what I saw in the mirror this morning.

I think about saying something to him. I’m eating now. I’m eating enough and that accounts for how I look. I decide not to. It’s enough that I connected it and said it to myself.

We catch up a little about him.

He gets off. If I hadn’t gotten on the wrong train I wouldn’t be on this one, running into a friend and talking with him about this and that. He leads an interesting life and is a wonderful person.

It’s stunning how slowly the train is moving. Now with nobody to talk to, I notice it.

As impatience starts forming around the edges, I negotiate with myself. You’re looking for time to write poetry and prose. You love to make art. So now you have some time. Make art.

So I get out my phone and I make art.


You might also enjoy:
Good plan, well executed

Emotional Support From The Security Guard
What To Say

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I walked to the end of the driveway


That yellow tree begged. No - demanded.
And for that time, you of sinew, of audacity.
Like a pretty, petulant child.
Stole every morsel of me.

The hero dutifully captured.
I moved an inch and commenced.
A staccato of to and fro professional-like photography.
Glistening leaves already lousy with mud and death.
A brush of frost veneer saves them from certain obscurity.
Lucky two foot patch you are, that anyone saw you at all.

Next come the words, unplanned, unbidden.
A slip of verse, a clearing.
Hands breathless to jot, to cradle you.
To pore over and edit later.
15 minutes is a very long time.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Careful Words


The pause before speaking.
The silent blank pages slipped between dense, thatched prose.
The lull, the exclamation.  
To sate, not fill.
Even the endpapers.
Even the subject line.

You've worked the tinker right out of it.
The sweat wiped away by the same deft hands that penned.
That swept aloft to me alone, exclusive, dear.
To my eyes, the brain that soaks it in.
Smooth skin, blown glass.
Or as they say, like butter.