July 2005 Archives

Predictable. Perhaps?

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the sake was served in a wine glass. "it is the only glass we have", the waitress said. I did not believe a word. Masumi was the name of the sake. I believed that. It was delicious. I pulled out a little notebook and wrote for a few pages. It was a bit like writing here, except that it was for nobody to read. Not even for myself really, as I can barely decipher my own writing just a few minutes after writing. Before going to the Japanese restaurant, i spent several minutes protecting a young sparrow from foot traffic near Rockefeller Center. The bird was relatively young, it was relatively weak. It was interested in the crumbs on the floor and it was careless and not very focussed. I had seen a similar bird a few years ago, jumping about on 22nd street, until a passer by in high heels stepped on it, breaking one of its wings in a very horrendous way. The woman did not even notice she had stepped on the little guy. It was not a nice thing to see. I do not remember what happened after this moment, as it is the last I remember of it. Today i stood around the sparrow, maybe a foot or so away from him, blocking the foot traffic. The little guy did not know what I wanted from him. He hopped around, ate some things off the floor. "It is a bird." A passer by obviously thought I was crazy. It was a bird. Yes, amazing how it was one. Amazing how it was able to fly away after all. The man who put me into the compartment of crazy new yorkers certainly did not fly anywhere tonight. Having a sake from a wine glass was a bit odd. Writing into a little book and then adding little illustrations on the margin felt incredibly good. Especially after a very busy, though very productive day. Oh, and i caught myself writing about a place I never had a chance to visit. Maybe not yet. Have you ever stared at the sky near a lake, in an orchard, in high grass? And have you ever noticed the clouds there, how they are the expression of the lake being near by? The sake was really very good. A tiny amount in a wine glass. Somehow unexpected.
you have to enter your forest at the darkest possible point and maybe sometimes follow a path, but not all the time, that would be boring. Have you ever asked yourself who was the person who first walked up broadway? Or was it a person at all? Maybe it was an animal. My feeling is that is was an animal. It was the first one to walk up broadway, the first ticker tape parade was a flurry of leaves and needles. There was some sort of chase involved. (maybe a chicken ran after an egg?) And then a person followed. Or maybe not yet. Maybe many animals followed broadway before it became a path also frequented by humans. And of course much, much longer ago before it became broadway. Have you ever made your own broadway? Or ...way. Or... any.way... So a man enters a bar and orderes a drink. He then orders another drink. Then another. Beautiful people enter the bar. The man has another drink. He sings a beautiful song. (A new creation of unmatched beauty.) The beautiful people acknowledge the beauty of the man's voice. The man celebrates his new found talent (has another drink.) The beautiful people and the man, who by now is also incredibly beautiful, have a very deep and meaningful conversation about the rotten aspects of the world. (Over another drink.) The world spins... (Drink) ...out of control. The man throws up. He hits the floor. Outside of the bar. So I guess it is not a floor anymore if it is outside of the bar. That would be a street. The street could be broadway. (Let's make it broadway, to make things seemingly make sense.) Does the man hit the same broadway that was first walked on by an animal? Is the man who hits broadway an animal? Will there always be broadway? And does this all matter at all? Now, let's think about canal street. or... mars. Enter the forest at the darkest point. Or whenever there is a darkest point, imagine that you are entering a forest. (A finite arrangement of something.) ----and---- this is a very positive post. happy really. very. I am not the vomiting man. okay? (just making sure.)


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This is worth an entry. I just had the slowest taxi ride of my life. The cabby managed to hit every red light and I could swear that he stopped at green lights as well. It took me almost an hour to get home. It usually takes less than a half hour by cab, this is why i took one, since the train takes 45 minutes or so. This is insane. It was actually hardly surprising that at the end of the ride, when i asked the driver to "pull over on the left hand side, at the end of the block, right under that big yellow sign," he almost immediately pulled over to the right, turned the lights on, assuming we were done. It is about 90F in new york right now, with humidity being somewhere near 100%... I guess we are all really boiled here... or steamed?... fried?... oh boy. --- update--- let's blame the shallow nature of this entry on the very heat which caused me to write it. The house has a cool zone right now, which i keep cool, and the rest is just left to the raging elements. i had to take down the smoke detector, just so i can put it under a blanket when it goes off again because i take a shower and push humidity beyond the invisible 99%. yes, really, once one pushes the water density in the air to the point that there is a rainfall in the apartment, the smoke detector goes off and one has to dig it under something... it is like playing with tiny versions of the elements. hmm... will need to get up now. i actually had a bunch of taxi dreams. they were all somehow funny enough that my stomach is now tense from all the laughing. hi.

home matters...

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I was told that it would have taken me less time to do the dishes than to write about me not having done the dishes in a long time. Doing the dishes did take longer than writing about them. I finished the work around 3am last night. The place is transforming again. I have entered that forgotten room behind a door in my bedroom, the stem-room, the trailer, the office, the studio. I have not been here for quite a while now. The images had started falling off the wall, so I took them off, most of them, and packed them neatly into one of the many boxes piled at the other wall. A lot is going on here on one hand, nothing is going on here on the other hand. And this is not good, no matter how I look at it. Need to do the work. Need to do it now. If not now, when? Oh, and it was interesting to find a very good photograph that shows the place where I was born. This here is the city where I am from. A very nice picture taken by Wojciech Wilczyk. The picture looks exactly like my memories of my early childhood and later vacations spent with my grandparents and my uncle. Even though the picture here was shot in 2001.

h2o ok?

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Note to self: Drink a lot of water, drink lots of water. Make sure you are hydrated. Please do not let yourself dry out. Water, water, water. H2O? ok. : ) feeling much better now. much. okay... gotta run. (temporary entry.)


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no, today was not all fun and games. i almost threw up on the train, then again in the office, then barely made my way home where i just passed out for about four hours or so. and i am still getting these hot flashes which make me feel like a woman of a certain age, though i am certainly neither. i ran out of glasses i ran out of cutlery, the knife is buried under a pile of dirty dishes. i used my teeth to peel off layers and layers of an onion. the other room is very cool now, this is where i passed out before, this is where i am going to pass out again. no i have not been drinking. though i have not been drinking enough water either. so there you have it. messed up a whole day this way. how many times can i check my email and how many times can i stare at the mails i have yet to reply to. where is the charger for my radio? i wonder if i would keep coming back to this blog here if it were not myself. nothing appears to be happening, there is a thick myst around every single statement. this stuff must get horribly boring after a while, no? But years and years of it? I mean thousands of pages? All neatly compressed and coded and avoiding the meat of things at times. What is it that i know more of now than in 2001? Every man is a network. I think i might be a rather quiet, private one. I think the intimacy of this place keeps increasing and as we progress closer and closer to the core of the writer, we discover that there are larger and larger gaps, voids, spaces between spaces. It is comforting not to be dense and done and finished... but as fragile as i am... as vulnerable i feel i am as well... and maybe this is not something that should be admitted in public? i do not consider this here public space though... no matter how many hundreds and thousands of eyes find their way onto these very lines of words written in a language that i still see from the outside. here we go again... another stupid hot flash... and that throbbing, rhythmic headache...

duck feathers and leather.

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This morning, as I finally woke up out of a haze of refrigerated dreams, I discovered that my head had been changed into a Charles-Eames-Lounge-Chair-seat-cushion. The rounded shape of the headboard of my bed even amplified this feeling. My face felt soft, like a first baseman's mitten and my eyes were like two buttons sewn in deep, pulling my skin oddly into my face. There was that leathery feeling in my throat and the circumference of my head appeared to now have some hight quality, Herman Milleresque, hand applied tubing. "What has happened to me," I thought. This was no dream. My bedroom, the one with the air conditioner and the higher ceiling, lay quietly between its four old walls. The wall behind the headboard was the one with the exposed brick, it was also the one with the rusty nail in it and that little lego person stuck into what for it must have felt like a fancy terrace of a grand apartment complex. The wall on the opposite side had the door in it. The door of which I so often dreamt, the one to that tiny room with all the important stuff in it. On the floor were piles of books, some boxes. To my right was the good old Graflex Camera, now covered with one of my old blue shirts. Some socks also were arranged to loose sets of L and R, there was a t-shirt, some notes, a drawing or two, photographs, the entite scene admired by some quietly breathing domestic dust bunnies. Instead of thinking what will happen to me in this condition, I began to experience some previously unknown anxieties. Where were the back cushions, for example, the twins which could be exchanged so that the one that got softer over time could take the place of the one not yet very used. What happened to the ottoman cushion? Was it there? Was it a part of me as well? Was ist in the apartment? Were we actually relatives? Why did I feel so soft? Who had been sitting on me? What ever happened to the walnut exoskeleton, what happened to the hard rubber shock absorbers, the aluminum support, the turnable base? What ever happened to the pig, the ducks... the tree? My mother called, and I had to pick up the phone, just because I was too far away from the speakerphone for the answering machine, the one placed in the window of the other room. It was as if she were calling me to come in after a night of play in the backyard. I was not a little boy anymore and she was not a tiny mom in the window on the 8th floor of the apartment building in Jastrzebie-Zdrój. She was now small and silver and the writing on her said: "Panasonic." She still called the same name I had when I was four years old though. This time it was not the other kids who heard her shout, this time it was those who still wanted to sleep by their open windows, somewhere between second and third street in Park Slope, in Brooklyn. We spoke about grafting, the living pieces in the size of coins that were cut out of my grandfather's legs, when his skin did not want to grow back after the amputations. We spoke about square metrage of the apartment where her brother still lives and where I spent the first screaming days of my life. She told me how many times she had to wash the glass bricks which the humorous architects used as an extension of the living room in that apartment. It was a sisyphian task, as the city in which I was born was among the most polluted in Europe. Eventually the glass bricks were removed and replaced by a door and a window, slicing off at least a meter and a half of the area of the apartment. Now the metrage of her current house was being reduced by the ever growing collections amassed by my father. What looked like three bedrooms on paper, began to feel like a labyrinth of channels among solidified memories and souvenirs. She managed to throw things out, just to discover that there is some correlation between the way gases behave and the way "stuff" claims space. I did not tell her about how my head felt. It would have probably worried her silly. Everything did though. It felt okay to hang up. It felt okay to take a shower. I did not hate the way I looked in the completely steamed up mirrors of my almost bulging medicine cabinet. I eventually managed to get some food into myself. I avoided two grey stones in my kasha. The plants got some food too. I managed to get myself into the last pair of underwear available in my apartment. I managed to find a clean and sorted pair of socks. I was late as I was putting on another shirt and pants. I was very late by the time I managed to get out the apartment door... I eventually managed to get to the subway station, which today had been put much farther away from the house and also behind the natural miracle of some rather heavy rainfall. It might have been the rain perhaps that shrank my head and made my eyes come slightly forward. Nobody complained about my leathery throat. Nobody seemed worried about that whispery noise right between my ears. The inside of my skull still feels a little soft right now. Almost as if it were filled with some duck feathers. Maybe I am just a version of myself today. Maybe what I am today is somehow the much less experienced version of what I am going to be tomorrow. Maybe today is just the end of the beginning of the next ten years or so. Or at least the next month, or week, or maybe... oh, never mind. Hmm... what will it be like to remember this very moment and to smile at myself as being still not very old and still packed with unfulfilled dreams? I never want to be separated from my ottoman cushion.
Chuck Close is brilliant. Today is Sunday. (Just stating the obvious.)

any time

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"please help me, I have horrible chest pain" the man was looking at me as if I had a pack of nitroglycerine tablets in my pocket. I was in the emergency room area of Bellevue Hospital in New York City and it was just me and this man with chest pains. It was quiet and empty and a bit surreal. I eventually went to get a security officer who opened the door for me and for this pre-heart attack patient. I was also let into the emergency area. Some of the patients here were assisted by police officers. A man with amazing deformations to his head was sleeping against the wall, his wrists bound by handcuffs behind his back. A lady was not doing so very well in one of the corners. Her entire family seemed to be there with her. One of the younger women was spread across her chest. The doctors looked as if we were in a television series. I was sent from station to station until I was told that I was not supposed to be in this part of the hospital at all. And so I left, and went left and left and towards a desk somewhere half a mile away, where I was given a laminated piece of paper with a number on it, so I could visit my friend on the 10th floor. And I did not get to see him today. But I will go again tomorrow. I got to see his pulse though. It was 130 when I arrived, it went up to 131 as I was leaving. I wish him only the best. He is one of the strongest guys I know. He is going to be okay. Though it is probably going to take some time... The only good thing about him being in intensive care is that I can visit him at any time. And now that I know that, I think I will.

so very simple...

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The reflections on the walls felt at times as if they were coming from water in a friendly brook, at times as if a projected express train were rushing surprisingly silently through the room. The sun was shining onto the highway outside and the windows of the passing cars were throwing back rays of light in a constant repeating pattern... constantly repeating and yet quite irregular and unpredictable after all. The sun and the earth, clearly very much locked into a predictable relationship, the reflections of light on glass projected onto a wall... about as predictable... Then the irregular arrival of the reflective cars. Sometimes entire packs of them rushing towards manhattan, sometimes a single one, from time to time... none. Sometimes a heavy truck would slow down on its way to Coney Island, sometimes a motorcyclist would speed up in a way that would lift the front wheel of his machine, aimed in the other direction. The reflectors in this spectacle were truly sophisticated, engineered, designed machines, burning fuel refined from forests transformed ages ago. The operators of the reflectors were quite intelligent beings, the drivers, with a clear past and a future, on a macro and on a micro level. All of them equipped with destinations. A symphony of intelligent elements. Playing with invisible and visible particles. The sun, the earth, the light rays, reflected on windows and other parts of vehicles on their way to or from new york, driven there by intelligent beings... Here I was on the bed, looking into the corner of the room, following the patterns that somehow returned, were expected, yet were always incredibly different. So many variables were involved in this game of light, no wonder there did not seem to be any measurably predictable pattern. And yet I knew where the light was coming from. I knew the approximate location of the reflections in time and space... I knew the reasons... to a certain extent at least... What if I were not given all the information that allowed me to know what was going on on that wall? What if all I were given were the dancing lights, the reoccurring and yet never reoccurring pattern? Would I be able to discover the reasons? What if I did not know what a car is? Or what a highway is? Would I see a divine expression? Would I see a natural phenomenon? And what would make me make the decision that it was either... or what would it be then? Maybe what I was seeing was a natural phenomenon... one that happened to involve some intelligent beings in smart machines with a destination as a factor? If I knew that these were cars creating the patterns of light... would I still be able to imagine that they were heading to or from New York City? And would I be able to make any conclusions about the thoughts and plans and intentions that brought each and every one of these drivers to this particular spot in space and time? It was not really a new feeling but still a feeling very overwhelming... no matter how much I understood of a pattern that I saw, there was always a much larger, much more complex set of patterns I either had no idea existed, or even if I knew that it existed was too large for me to fathom. It felt as if what allowed us to survive was the ability to ignore the thoughts of the unexplored and the unknown... it felt as if what allowed us to think of ourselves as intelligent was actually the ability to ignore the hints and markers that we are relatively without knowledge and blind and really quite insignificant... probably observing reflections of processes involving some factors that will never become accessible to us... by design. and i looked at the walls and ceiling for a little longer... "this is really beautiful," I thought... and I closed my eyes and fell asleep...

it would be nice...

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i was thinking of moving somewhere, maybe far away, maybe not so far. maybe it was all a silly idea. i think i will probably stay just where i am. it is such a beautiful place. i recently had this dream that there was a door in my bedroom and that i opened it and that there was this extra room in which there were all these amazing things which i had the intention to use and yet did not. i woke up and the door was actually there. and there room was there too. i took some of the drawings from the wall in the little room. i should be drawing in a larger room, not in a corner of the smallest room of the house. it feels like i am going to fall into my bed tonight and just pass out. i will immediately fall into incredibly deep sleep. so odd... i have stopped receiving emails. i know i should write some in order to get some... but it is still odd... i think i will need to write some... or maybe just sleep... sleep is good... why does it feel as if i had the attention span of a... what was i talking about?... is it all because of starbucks offering refills for ¢50? (I have been using the same giant cup for days now...) To sleep... perchance to dream.
The air conditioner was turned off, the window was opened, the birds were a bit upset that I woke them up before the soon to arrive sunrise. I fell back into the blue sheets and then soon rushed across the park to the other side which now appeared to be turned into a place that reminded me more of Heidelberg than anything else. The botanic garden was gone, instead there was a steep, wooded hill, frame houses on that hill, many trees, then a narrow street. Now things looked more like Geneva. Geneva early in the morning perhaps. Then maybe Kassel? Karlsruhe? Or was it Sachsenhausen? It was to be expected that the front page of the New York Times would feature a large photo of fireworks on July 5th. Fireworks in motion and the frozen fireworks of the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. Below the fold was an image of Frank Gehry's preliminary sketch of what he thought the new Brooklyn skyline might end up looking like. Buildings exploding out of buildings exploding out of giant billboards, exploding out of the ground. Fascinating images of boxes covered with crumpled up paper. Obviously first thoughts. Not bad thought for that, I guess. It is going to be nice to drive into Brooklyn in a way that it probably should be driven into. There should be some sort of entrance, some sort of man made valley, some sort of gateway. Those who oppose the transformation of downtown brooklyn might want to take a bus from dumbo to park slope. It is an interesting ride. It appears to be taking place in a different time and in a different country. Or maybe it does not. Maybe it is just my mindset... When looking at the first macy's parade, I was surprised about the gaps in the lineup. Once I saw the same parade on television, I realized that the gaps were there for advertising. It was a very odd experience to drive to Washington DC with a car. I asked myself if there were some very special route that international delegations would take. Was there a route from the outskirts of the capital to it's polished center that did not feature empty blocks and burned out houses? (Once I started taking the shuttle in, things in Washington DC looked rather beautiful and orderly... some cabbies would actually take me on a route right by the military cemetery. Here were those fallen for the freedom I was experiencing. We were all thankful.) There is an abandoned building on the very same block where I live (I hear it is because of a dispute in the family that inherited it). The building right next to it is for sale for something like three million dollars? Two hundred years ago, the place where I live now was a field, ready to become a battlefield, ready to become a community of human proportions, slowly... So many of the images related to this place here are somewhat fiery. The heat of NOW is that manly, most celebrated factor here, it seems. A city that appears as if it were a frozen explosion, more architecture to be added to the mix that is just that. A country that celebrates a moment in its history in which it was not yet free, nor complete... I think this might be all somehow the beginning of something wonderfully magnificent. And it already is, and it will probably be even more so. And the Brits got their Olympics in 2012, and they probably actually saved our lives. That "plan X" on the NYC2012 website, looked to me like a gigantic target, including the approximate range (10km) needed to hurt a majority of the city's population. I somehow really love New York. And I really very much love this vast America... and if we are careful, all of this here is going to be even more magnificent in the next 250 years or so... no?... And I ran across the park and the buildings reminded me of Europe... or maybe it was not a reminder of anything. and maybe this entry should be whispered and not even read... how would one do that?
"you should probably eat something first." I walked out of the subway and straight into the exhaust of a blood drive bus on 7th avenue. Tables were set up and each one of them had three clipboards on them with information on how to donate blood. I had not eaten yet, and so the friendly man suggested that I do that first. I have never donated blood in my life. I would like to, hopefully as much as possible, even though i shiver when i just think of somebody being injured, or maybe that's why. I also get nauseous when i see my blood and i even almost blacked out once when just some of it was taken. still, i have that 0 rh- type, the kind that is most compatible, I think actually the ideal donor blood, so why should i not be giving it away in pints. I was told that this is how much is taken at a time. a pint, out of the two gallons we have in us. i ate, then went home, then woke up very late in the day. the blood bus was gone. gone was a large portion of the day too... i am a bit on the exhausted side. i have been working a lot in the last few weeks. it is quite obvious by the amount of entries here. or the lack thereof. right now, it is not even 10pm, i am really tired again in my chair, and i will soon just go back to where the air conditioner is currently raging and i will dive back into the land of those odd recent dreams. I had been driving down an avenue in one of those small pagode mercedes, the city seemed to be berlin, though i am quite certain that it was brooklyn and "unter den linden" was in fact Ocean Parkway. A new apartment with antique furniture and windows towards a backyard filled with the noise of children racing each other on little scooters. Somewhere in the depths of the building was a grocery shop, fresh fruit was there, onions with surprises hidden inside, there were plants and stones and windows that had been turned into doors. A train was audible nearby, an elevated train, the cars filled with stories encapsulated in the blankets of the moving city landscape. i heard voices and a banging on the door. i would wake up then, to have a brief conversation with mona, the grey cat lady who now lives in a place that is filling up with boxes, a place where the cords of animal feeding machines have been tested against the bites by the smartest, or maybe not so smart pigs. i would walk to the kitchen, cheat some food out of that food robot, set myself on some cushions by the heater and watch the reflections of car windows stoke the walls of the living room. the living room. living, breathing, image breathing room... here is my entire life, complete, it is the place where i want to be and where i have to be. i was born in a place that was built for workers and i spent the first days of my life crying in the presence of reflections on the ceiling of the tiny room in which my uncle still goes to bed every night. this here was just the perfect location for me. a glowing energy has led me here. this is where i am. complete. this evening i walked out to get a tiny snack before i return to bed. and right there, right in front of the door, right in front of my nose actually, fireflies. and not just one. many. i used to be excited to find these little guys in central park, or maybe by the hudson river... but right outside of my door? life right now feels like a deep, velvety coat of gouache somewhere in a hidden corner of a beautifully mysterious Amy Cutler painting. Even if things that are happening right now are not all front and center, they have still the quality of something that has been placed right into this very spot with full deliberation and intention and thought and skill and incredible care and against all odds and again and again. as if the universe had no one center but an unlimited amount of them. and it does. and this is so unbelievably amazing.

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