This is not possible

 

Something that’s truly original must have something unplanned about it.  Something that couldn’t have been predicted.  Something that couldn’t have been controlled.  Something that couldn’t even have been wholly imagined from the start, since that’s what originality is — something heretofore unimaginable.  These are the qualities that make it unusual, that make it special.  And fascinating, and difficult to place.

They are also the same qualities by which the original resists being owned.  As a creation the original comes as an inadvertent and incalculable gift, not merely as a product of effort or ego.  The truly original is beyond “practice,” because practice does not require openness, nor does it require surrender.

To allow the original to happen is to take a step back.  To fade previously held notions and ideas into the background, to make space.  To forget the ego, the control just enough to allow some other voice or vision to speak clearly, without noise.

You can not have originality, can not nurture originality, can not embody it in any part, can not hope for it, can not strive for it, can not hold it, can not truly value it, can not prize it, yet also expect to hang on to old ideas for dear life.

Interrupted or intercepted, its quality becomes disorganized and eventually lost in confusion.  But fear will simply neutralize the offering.

This is why the original is available to anyone, but few accept what they would take instead of a blessing, for a curse.  Or at least a liability, not worth the risk.

We could be more brave.

 

By Choice

I have been saying it is almost time, for a long time.  But now almost is very near.

My life is almost becoming a dream.

Soon I will smell, feel the paint again, the ink.  I will light candles again and sit down at my large clean desk and forget the rat race again.

With the door shut.

 

 

 

My Stranger

 

The earrings I wore
like tiny weapons
bounce light

Off the shine
Of mountains,
Like sunrises flash

Through the curious
Peaks of your
Clear eyes crossing

The table.  Summer glows
Off weeds outside, drills
the roots in so deep.

Our history envelopes
One glance, gone
I wince.

We share a glass house heart.
A new sap trails off peaks we’ve been.

Sofrito and crème fraîche fall
Over thick red meat
And we saw something there

Really worth drowning for, then you
Face south.  Like curtains dropping
Over a river, eyes

At the border of beef.  Each cut
Slowly sawn I watch.  Edgily
Feeling it out.  Then,

Without saying anything, you
Reached up
And took off the checkered
Cloth.

 

 

 

Night Water

 

–Thoughts from October.  I dig up this saved draft I’d hesitated to share but now it’s wrapping its arms around a sleepless night and my travel bug, that escapist impulse to jump in a car, on a plane, a train, a boat, anything–

All that really needs to escape is that toxic tendency toward self-censorship.

Writing is still elusive.  Writing is hard, unforgiving in a way at times.  Writing involves so much organization, I often can’t even handle it without also making visual art.  Words have felt like pressure cookers, images like rivers.  Images like relief.

It’s said that words, language, are limited and inadequate – but which mode of expression isn’t?

Images aren’t enough either, as enamored as we are of them.  There’s things that pictures just can’t do, can’t show the same way.  Pictures can not take the place of words.  So then it’s the writing that happens by surprise in the midst of creating art.  Writing is the relief.  Out of a sudden desperation, exasperation that  can’t be expressed immediately enough without switching mediums, turning to words.

Images and words have never been separate to me.  Two sides of the same coin.

There’s the times none of it seems to satisfy – images, words, whatever.  The moment’s raw and the only thing to do is keep going.  With the current project, with any project.  Whatever’s in front of you.  The medium hardly makes much of a difference.  It might make you feel better, or just more like crap but you don’t stop.  I feel strangely serene now in the face of intensity when it’s there.  Its presence doesn’t scare me as it once did.  As if my brain partitioned into two coexisting sides of reality, dark and peaceful.

When the inspiration gets intense, weird, dark, I imagine some of the reactions and opinions those pieces could incite.  Ah well.

Mixing beige paint in my room and laying it over black I contemplate my favorite person to be with.  Wanting this man is futile.  Will you leave once again and call me months from now, and what will I say then?  No more?  I love you?

Even the worst of you could not make me cold for long.  An inescapable fact, love.  I want out of here, too, restless.  It’s the middle of the night.

I toss this whole situation into question.  My job, my expensive life here in Oakland.  What am I doing?  This art.  These photographs.  This writing.  How much could I sacrifice to be able to do this all the time, nothing but this for as long as it takes?  Almost everything, I’m thinking.

What if I just said, everything?  What would everything look like?

 

 

 

 

Turn To the Quiet

 

It’s one of those mornings when I’m on the road again in my head.  Packing sleeping bags in the cold mountain air.  Blowing steam off my coffee in a circle of other travelers.  Packing up to leave, pulling on heavy boots.  Twelve thousand feet above sea level.  Hungry but exhilarated.

It’s easy to forget the struggle: what it takes to choose the adventure over the safe.  To get to those places and exist in them longer-term is mostly a matter of willingness to abandon fear, to detach from whatever status or position achieved, and then there’s the objects of our affections to be suspended or let go of.  An apartment, a car, a job, a semester, a social circle, a mentality, an ideology, a lover, a life dependent upon the comforts of the known.  Easier done when you have less to lose, but even then most will naturally balk.

For me, all this was nothing compared to what it took to return.  To reintegrate back into a culture built on and fascinated by the concept of freedom, yet embracing a type of freedom warped by comparison to the freedom you’ve just experienced on the road.  A freedom that almost looks like imprisonment – a rat race.  Yet this is the same rat race that gave you the road, the resources and privilege to earn it by struggle.  You yourself, you realize, love the rat race too.  Each day suppressing true feeling, true significance in order to keep up.  From time to time you wholly accept its superficial qualifications and you strive to reflect them, become them.  You get off on it, at least one small part of you feels this is natural.  Until the day that you just can’t take it anymore.  And then you turn to the few people whom you’ve ever really loved, in your mind.  You turn to the waves, the trees, the birds.  Sand, rivers, the clouds.  Tiny lights flickering in the shadows.