Monday, August 29, 2011

Rain band run.


Friday at 11am. Hurricane Irene flails and flays her first wild arms. Bands arrive hours before the storm's central churn and the frenzy of late preparation hits Wilmington. (While the anticipation of a storm is an exciting thing, the arrival of a storm can be baffling.)

Across the coastal region, whips of gray clouds spiral & march like burdened forms, layer like waxed, heavy brushstrokes, build into impasto smears of sky. Somewhere the voice of a weather anchor proclaims massive winds and flooding in serious, baritone enunciation. The rains are cold, stinging and pushing against my torso, opposing my work before relenting to a drizzle. My shorts stick to my thighs, my shoes are heavy with rain, my watch is confused by the beading rain.  The air is electric but cool and it is with half-belief that I watch the storm enter from southeast until it fills the sky, a directionless mass of movement, a swatch. 

The friday mid-distance run. . . A morning without compass; an act of habit.

A long run seems an unlikely thing as the garmin beeps into effect. The second mile follows the slow churn of legs as blood-heat pushes into the fold of a quad muscle. I note the birdless sky, the occasional boarded home, the deepening payne's gray of the horizon, the empty lawns, the tilting sway of the rain. A chill in the air.  The fourth mile is marked on the garmin with wild numbers tracking an erratic pace (gps signals rat-romp through clouds and weather, an unsteady register, thus data is jumpy). . . 6:12, 7:38, 7:27, 8:24. The park is empty except for two ladies casually pushing a stroller. I run spongy trails to a turn-around where my tailwind becomes a headwind. The wind shifts again from the east.  The effect is like swimming against a current; there is a total body force, a complete exertion.   As the mantra says, “Think with the whole body,” and running in a storm is a sure way to mindfulness. The band passes with a few gusts, a clearing forms, the air relaxes. My body finds an easy pace for the next three miles, appreciating the familiar terrain of the neighborhood.  The run ends with a walk around the block and my eager dog smelling the air as leaves confetti the air.   

A storm is a fierce thing when filtered through heavy rain, anticipation, news casts, the true unpredictability of Nature. Like a run, sometimes, you just work your way through a storm until it exhausts itself.  And you do so because it just what we do as animals, as people, as those who are alive. The mind, the body, the communion of the two, works with the same dynamics as the atmosphere and the earth.  Maybe it is no communion at all, but a reactionary symbiosis. A series of catalysts kissing off the fuel with flame.  A necessary rage.

Friday, August 19, 2011

work, a run, and auerbach.



a cycle of complacent meandering has come to an end and i've got to begin the work again. bend the back to the field with rough hacks, dull blades, stareoff against empty grounds (paper, canvas, wood). Vast fields, easy to get lost in, the labor of idea/image. . . millet. . . . . . so I am reading levine who was just announced as the new poet laureate and his work takes me right into the detroit guts of winter, the forlorn winter daze, jaundice street lights, the unromantic life of the american (auto) worker, the grime of floors and hands and grease, horns, a life stamped in shifts, petroleum eyes.  get this line:  "his blanket of newspaper rises in the breeze, a giant butterfly mottled with slaps of rain."  a real recession writer-- empathy to the worker in his detroit-eroded language.  poems that breathe like an assembly line.

luxury of thought.  images that explode into smoke, flash, vapid. “one day i'll paint in an armani suit.” ridiculous. this i wrote in an old journal, scribbled nine years ago, a copy of a nude bending off the margin, bookmarked by an excerpted manila page where i've inked an orchid, two tables' orders alongside the drawing. Server-artist. Artist-server.  shit. there is no luxury of thought any longer- just catalyst and response. the fleas of modern america, the fleas of minutiae.  probably should be a meaning, a poetry of things, a music perhaps, something beyond stasis.  the luxury of a whirl of thriving pigment and vitality. but recently i'm looking towards the impulse, the gesture: van gogh ink drawings (pure nature, holy nature, “i am whole in nature” he said), the fauves, kline, the canvases of baselitz, giacometti, the works of frank auerbach. 
i was thinking about Frank Auerbach while kicking six miles in the neighborhood, thinking of his name, the hard german “k” of bach, a hacking abrasion of sound, a mouthchop, a sound that is found in his work were one to experience synthesesia. his berlin roots, a jewish boy born in the thirties who got out of germany before the train got him (already had his parents, suffocated them with work, with deplorable conditions in a camp), the boy went to london, art school, became a gutlevel rabidass painter with the surface of his grounds sagging in the weight of paint and much of his work was shown flat so the paint wouldn't cave in, fall like thick clay plates to the floor of the gallery. Monochromatic panels move in textures that carve out the image, a forest thrusts through mudpaint to emerge out of a dozen or so final brushstrokes. the head portraits, something like a forest fire with eyes, a melancholy salmon/leek terrine gazing in 3/4 profile, or a girlish face infernal and pouring elan vital, ganked from some base impulse of perception, an emotive glance, the subconscious impression (a much darker, a more subjective place than the french impressionists' viewpoint), a picture dragged through a mire of mixed complementary colours to primordial tones, browns far from neutral, a process seemingly immediate but sought deliberately across hours and hours of posed seating. . . auerbach fully inspires me, engages me, invigorates me that he remains a powerful paint handler.  it is a good life when someone can paint over sixty years, tirelessly working for new brushmarks, tirelessly working with Paint. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

just a note to say that i am out of commission due to a back sprain or jam, some back injury.  the randomness of the pain baffles me, but i refuse the doctor trip.  i woke up with a sore back and then beat a full spinal-tweak across a downslope of a trail, a mis-step and a heel bash response, which is when an ache became an acutely painful area.  and while the lumbar pain improves drastically during the course of the day, the morning promises the agony again.  or it doesn't.  one never knows. so i am swimming and living offa advil and gelato, watching old bike films on youtube and below is a good one to watch if you get the spare time. the film is entitled "a sunday in hell" and it documents the paris-roubaix race (also known as the Hell of the North, hence the title of the film). the vintage machines are functional sculpture and the athletes remind me of hemingway's matadors. it is an engaging film.  meanwhile, thank you for checking in.