How many times this past weekend did I expect Sir David Attenborough to step forward from behind a car perhaps, or maybe from behind a mountain of frozen dirty snow and to grab me by the arm, softly of course, and turning to a quiet camera team with a giant fuzzy microphone to explain how "lucky of a primate" I was. Thank you Sir. And thank you for that edit that led us to an open landscape and some happily singing Neandertal children. (Why "lucky primate" though? Lucky to be in the right place at the right time and still do the wrong thing sometimes?) Looking at some works at the Outsider Art Fair, it was almost tempting to deliver myself to a neuro-diverse madical facility, just to get some time off and to just draw all day and night. And maybe some ambitious doctor would also give me a camera and a little toy (a bear, or perhaps a little pony?), and I would rush into the sanatorium gardens, to take pictures of immense landscapes and blurry fields of blooming flowers. The doctor would use the funds gained through the sale of my "crazy stuff" to afford careless evenings with a semi-pretty, though greedy young nurse from former Yugoslavia. (Not sure why I had to say that, but it somehow made sense as I was writing it.) The nurse would then fall in love with me, the creative idiot, I would not return her advances, or maybe, by accident, the wrong way. She would develop a strong hate relationship towards me, she would try to convince the Doctor to somehow get rid of me, in some very painful way, and after he refused, since I were a nice source of tax-free income for him, she would take my life into her own hands, and deliver me to that other place, where I no longer needed to even think about drawing or taking pictures, but where I could perhaps be much more useful to some garden plants. WHich is another useful dream of mine anyway. Looking at the outsider art show brought a mix of inspiration and that sad feeling that what I was looking at was the result of deliberate and repeated neuro-exploitation. Maybe there were no nurses involved, but perhaps neighbors, nuns and landlords? The fumes of injustice somehow felt paralyzing. Somebody was daring enough to write "Value $375" in crooked letters in sharpie onto the back of one bold drawing of a woman. The writing was clearly visible (thanks to the miracles of chemical engineering), and somehow more so than that little laser printed museum-like note, describing the artist, the title, the year, the dimensions and the amount of $7000. I think there was a little red dot next to the number, though I am not quite sure. Maybe the red dot was just a floater in my left eye, still burned in there... Oh, God bless them all. I had a bit of a similarly confused feeling (though much milder) when looking at some crudely cut pieces of wood on broken coffee tables in the guts of that interior decoration store in Dumbo. Everything in the place seemed to be broken. The flaws of most pieces of furniture were very apparent. The chairs and tables that looked whole were either incredibly ugly, or had this smirk that hinted that they might be wood-carved mass-murderers. Some of the pieces were just indescribable. Some child in a remote village in the far east must have been forced to carve some animal with a wooden knife, perhaps. The end result was supposedly a "butter dish"... "worth" $125. What disgusting sense of humor. I craved a Starbucks coffee after all this. It felt as if it were a high quality item, at a super bargain price. And how insanely luxurious would it feel to put my lips onto one of those plastic "solo" covers, fresh from the polymer factory, wedged on top of a pristinely white recycled paper-cup and to suck through that tiny pill-shaped opening, some disgusting, bitter, dirty hot liquid with the taste of bad breath. (I ended up getting a tripple Espresso with (free!) whipped cream and tons of sugar (free!), as it appeared to be the best knock-out-deal among all of the bad deals, the best $2.50 to invest as dinner replacement therapy.) I am a bit worried these days. Todd warned me that if I continue in as shy of a way as now, I am going to end up as a really bad version of Henry Darger, I will be found on the floor of my apartment, surrounded by Pepto Bismol bottles, and on the shelves will be piles and piles of drawings and photographs of little bears and of food and of just shapes fighting and fighting for a gentler, happier world. I guess I am running, really quickly, to nowhere (which is oddly enough built from the words "now" and "here"... if one puts one's mind to it.) Drawing late into the night on Saturday felt incredibly beautiful actually. The entire weekend was a time filled with magic. Things are very amazingly incredible and unbelievably wonderful in many ways. Sir David Attenborough just stepped into the apartment, with his crew, he is turning towards them and: "This one here is reliving a Karl Spitzweg painting, all including the improper use of writing utensils, boxes and old books. Note also that he chose as his dwelling the place right under the roof of an old building, and that he does not have so much as a real bed." If I bite Sir David now, will the moment be edited away, or just celebrated in one of those behind the scenes chapters on a DVD?... oh and... "how many times per day do you have rice?" "I guess two... no wait, three... often. I mean it does not have to be this way. I do not survive on rice alone. The lunch I had today just included some rice. And I am also trying to introduce some variety. That bag of basmati bought in the Indian Rite Aid on church street is bound to last for another two months or so, but I am spicing things up, mixing elements in. It is good, I think." I had just set the rice cooker to give me a beep at 6:10 am and to have some wild rice with orzo ready for me. I used half a package of that special mix bought from the very friendly Lebanese ladies on seventh avenue. The good thing about rice was that I could not just eat it when raw and that it would not spoil right away if I did not touch it for a while. Okay, I think I should really clean the floor now...
January 2005 Archives
The cabby did not seem to like me very much. Probably for extending the ride by giving him further and further destinations to bring me to. We went to Brooklyn at first, just across the Manhattan Bridge, then down Flatbush Avenue, then further and further, to Grand Army Plaza, and on and on... my nose close to the whistling window on the right hand side, looking at the lights in the beautiful villas by the park. I guess Prospect Park West might be one of my very favorite groupings of buildings to look at from a cab, at night, these days... or what do I know... always? It took probably twenty minutes to catch a cab on houston street. The night was so incredibly cold and dark and there seemed to be a change in cabbie shifts perhaps? It felt almost as if I were in a different city, one created to make me feel helpless. Massive amounts of cars, none with the light on the roof signaling availability. "Go away Witold, you should not be here, not like that and not right now." I walked against traffic, for several blocks that felt like miles, walked on the white and dirt mountains of frozen snow, on and on. My head, my hands, my feet, all slowly embracing an ever stronger frosty pain. The reason why I had to get a cab in the first place was that train fiasco, the long delayed trip, stuck in tunnels, then stations, then finally brought to a complete halt on second avenue and houston. "No passengers. No passengers. Last Stop. No Passengers. No Passengers. Last stop." I was one of the passengers, of course. As were the Polish kids in the middle of the car, a group of cursing teenagers, waving their middle fingers at whatever happened to be moving on the platform, after the doors of the train were closed, and the train was on its way out of the station. Silly. Could I in any way mention how glad I am that today is Saturday?
It was reassuring to know where the shore ended and where the lake began. It was the memory of the ducks and the other water fowl that made it safer to be near and not enter what looked like a nicely cleaned up white plain. The lake might have been frozen underneath the snow, but why would one want to find out really? One step would mean sinking in, the second step would probably mean danger, the third would be near death? A pigeon landed just a few meters from the shore... innocently, safely. I am no pigeon. I would just die. I drew a line where I remembered the shore. And a skull, two crossed bones. Death starts here... Most birds decided to stay in trees. They tried to face the wind, intuitively working their aerodynamics. Their guano made the snow underneath greenish yellow. Splashes of color. The bus which I wanted to take to the train this morning did not even stop to pick up new passengers. It was packed with what looked like a mix of humans and bags and puffy jackets. It appeared as if the driver had to cut a tunnel through some fabric in order to see the white street ahead. Walking to the train was not all too bad. The snow was still frozen enough to not turn into those infamous New York slush lakes, those brown puddles that have the ability to swallow daring pets. The train was another version of the bus picture. Once it pulled into the station and once the doors opened, it became quite obvious that nobody from the platform would be able to squeeze themselves in addition to that well pressed bunch of human sardines. The jackets looked ironed. Certain trains apparently did not run at all and so the ones that ran were instapressed. It might be time now to go back into the cold. I am glad to be able to regain bits and pieces of clarity. I hope that there will be enough energy in me to actually move things... into some useful direction. Soon... It is hard to believe that it is two years her that I posted that photograph with the sockdog. Two years... I hoped to be in a slightly different place in two years... hmm... Maybe in two years from now?... What am I waiting for?... Maybe there was no lake... or maybe the ice was thick enough. Maybe it is not really about the lake? Hmm... The pigeon, the snow, the lake... I have the feeling that they are all one and the same thing, somehow... hmm... and maybe the people squeezed into the subway car are that same thing too... I think they might be.
The wine needed about three minutes to kick in. It was a 1990 Chateau Simard Saint-Emilion and it tasted a bit like that reddish dry cork. He did not have any real wine glasses and so that imitation plastic cup had to be it tonight. The wine needed about three minutes to kick in. And it did kick in so incredibly well. So well. He pulled up his far too tight queen-chastity underwear, rushed out the door and down the stairs, and past the barking door and out and onto the street and into the storm of a snow. He let himself fall right onto his blank face, into the freshly fallen powder, his arms open, like that guy who could see his house from up there, in that Richard Prince painting. He began to swim towards the street, the edge, the parked cars. His naked skin was like this of a chameleon, it seemed, it began to turn closer and closer to the shade of the snow. He had to use the space between the cars, just to make sure there would be enough depth in the powder to carry his almost naked body. He swam down the street, towards fifth avenue... in the darkness, slowly turning into a freshly frozen piece of human. The lights of oncoming traffic avoiding him just barely, honking, as if they had never seen a street snow swimmer before. Okay, not really. He could not swim. It was good that the temperature fell as low as it has. The two desks fished out of the high-school dumpster were very happy to let go of a half a pound of twenty year old chewing gum crust. Oh, and the snot also crumbled really well. Dirty little desks. I am using one to write this entry, actually. It is much cleaner now, maybe not perfect, but definitely cleaner. "Come later." said the super, as he was pushing along the snow plow on the sidewalk near the giant dumpster. I think I will walk out there and fish some more soon. It would be nice to score some free chairs perhaps, the names of loved girls and hated teachers carved into them. Maybe AC/DC, or KISS... yeah... And the chewing gum comes off best when frozen... The legs of the tables will need to be seriously cleaned... but that's another weekend project. I think I am going to go back to drawing now. Bubble letters on tiny pieces of paper. Majik. Over and over again. and again and again and again... Maybe the giant underground current will carry me towards the ocean tonight. That would be most wonderful. I bet the waves are more quiet on such a snowy night. They should be, no?
The meeting was over a bit sooner than expected. We could have run for the early afternoon shuttle. I could not resist but stay. After walking through the sculpture garden of the National Gallery, I walked in through the west entrance and was very easily pulled into several hours of a speechless visit. It was not the first time that I walked through here, but it was for the first time that the crowds were bearable, for the first time there was a relatively quiet feeling about the place. For some reason it was not long until I was pulled into that different kind of Museum visit: It was not really me visiting the art, it was me showing the art to the camera. It was the illusion of looking at something, while actually looking at the miniature version of it on the tiny screen in the back of a small black picture taking machine. It was good that I had not forgotten the bear. I was able to come back to certain pieces and was able to look at them from at least a bit of a different perspective. Once the batteries ran out, my time ran out, I had to leave the city to catch the next packed plane. Why did I need the camera at all? Why was I not able to just keep the images to myself, to be just there in this particular moment in space and time? Why did I not quite manage to pull myself back enough to be by myself completely alone, turned into an observing little dot?... Maybe it is too much to ask in the midst of a giant art collection? I don't know. I think I might want to take some time off... maybe it would be good to just sleep. Maybe it was okay. Maybe there were peaceful moments somewhere between the hundreds of deliberate clicks. Now that I think about it... there were. Very many. But maybe because they were so quiet, they are really nothing to write home about. The moment we try to describe something, or record something, we create a completely new thing that then can again be described and recorded... All echoes of some original idea, perhaps... infused with distracting frequencies of the present, the past... and the confusion... clearly not clear enough to think this one through right now...
Kasha in the rice cooker. Three bananas attached to the window frame in the kitchen. The lost tracks of the La's from the tiny speakers of the laptop. An empty green bottle from the czech republic as a quiet reminder of the attempt to slow down the galloping brain last night. The lights are off. I am less than an hour away from another completely packed day. My calendar suggests that I have one thirty minute window left for myself. Wicked little liar. I have not managed to pull away that invisible hand pushing at my temples. I have not managed to remove the other invisible body parts pressing at various areas of my body, in and out. The wool scarf trapped in my throat is still there. It is there even more now, since this is the morning. I think I will need to take a short walk. I live just two minutes from a great park. Maybe this is what I should be doing right now. Maybe it is not the screen I should be looking at now, it should be the layers of thick air behind which the silhouettes of trees would remind me that I am rushing too much, running very quickly... just to return to them anyway. The pots with plants are happier than ever. I thought that the last window was a life giver, well, what is happening right now is nothing short of miracle growth. I had finally had the guts to bonsai train my dear jade tree and it is coming back as a really exciting drawing model. I think we will soon have to have some sessions. The lime tree really wants to turn itself into a giant stick. We will need to have some more talks... The avocado plants are slowly but surely turning into real trees. Exciting. Yes, a walk would be probably the right thing now. And then maybe some more, maybe some slower writing. I would love to just walk all the way to the south west side of the park, and stay there, all day, just create little waves, swim, fly... I will need to take a short walk now. Right about now. Will be out there in the park in maybe five minutes... bye.
Take a look at The Morning News this morning. : ) (Morning, morning...) Thank you so much Rosecrans!
Today might have been the best first of January I remember. Ah, what the heck. It was the best first of any year I remember. It was a lovely day, I would not change a thing. It was perfect. Great, grand, quiet, lovingly simple. Nothing more to say right now. At least not about the day. Here some feeding frenzy, as seen today in Prospect Park. (From that perfect four hour walk.) Happy New 2005.