Monday, October 24, 2011

Snatches of Miller, 100 kilometers, nickel coffee (five movements on a theme)..




i.


miller's rosy cruxifiction is a perennial interest for me, an autumn ghost that rises from a memory-clock, but a ghost that dissipates within a few paragraphs of plexus or nexus.  that a craving is so quickly assuaged, fragile as light to a mirage, perplexes me. 
once i relished his rant-ramblings, his openings of woof! woof! and sex in the back of brooklyn cabsthe luxury of his leisurely hours wandering central park, bumming money from friends & acquaintances, the fall of snow on manhattan window sills, his speakeasy pantry of ham sandwiches and potato salad, pickles and beer. his rant against the american machine.  i was reading sexus 15 years ago, the cover stained with burnt coffee and ashes falling from the hand of a broken-souled young adult.  i was drunk & addled, hiding beneath poverty's skirt, believing in the artist's struggle- faithful to the chaos- subscribing to the myths of romantic naivete.  and here was an empathetic voice, a diatribe against all i had not gained or accomplished.   here was a voice that made sense: his writing conveyed the loyalty of hungry dogs.
but now miller (my response) lacks that voracious elan vital.  the language feels contrived, the scenes manipulated, the tone condescending. . . flippant rant, foam, amuse bouche, staccato shrieks that entertain in bursts like a raspy voice in a smokey hall.  pages of barking and hardons and hunger. gauguin's dogs, a form of begging.


ii.


i used to paint for a sense of lucidity, to link directly my thoughts to action. i painted for the cascades of ecstacy i could find in color and form and contour.  painting was a physical act from the beginning, a grand chasedown of a cumulative moment. an expressionist act.
now i run and the run is the current medium of my art.  it is nearly a daily act, it is a habit. and in my runs are falling bodies, fragments of language, color wheels, flashes of poetic understanding.  the effect of painting and the effect of running both contain the joy of a constant, language that is transcended by body.


iii.


i think of hungry ny painters in the cold of winter.  or the new york romps (via the subterraneans) of kerouac ginsburg & snyder, jazz haunts & slinky women bending into drinks and slow horn blows. i think of my nostalgia, of big city dreams, a Nickel Coffee sign, a window in a sepia photograph.  sinew, muscle, bone, and nickel coffee.  something to revitalize as autumn falls into winter.

iv.

weymouth woods 100k, a trail run totaling 62 miles across 14 loops.  mind is a rabid jaw working an anxious introspect, trying to swallow the many questions of the task.  physical manifestation is milling the miles, cycling & stretching, reading training plans & theories, writing mileage charts, inventories of nutrition. . . in the end, it is the mind and the legs, mainly the legs. 62 miles is intrepid effort and the hope of progress, pain like fissures of bone splintering into the leg muscle. insomnia and dulled senses. Preparation and Execution:  Work. Weymouth woods is the will to complete something personally astounding.  To surrender into the thing, whether paint, music, blankness, words, body. To surrender is the meaning and the result, the art and the artifact. surrender contains the whole process and it is the first step.  i am running a one hundred kilometer trail race.
100 kilometers like a native american sundance. . . the need to surmount one's self, to reinvent oneself, to triumph out of oneself.  The palpitating heart of the moment is how one responds when the shit falls apart, to endure entropy, to find rhythm in chaos, to surmount rot and exhaustion. to bear witness to a continuum elucidating & aligning towards a beginning, marking an unbroken trajectory of existence.  to be in that point of origin for a moment, if only a glance, and to be whole and transfixed. my training will revolve around that part of the run, the part where the shit falls apart, where i am a ghost. that part of my past i am always trying to heal and conceal will burn like gas through muscle and mouth and eyes.


to run 62 miles in fourteen fucking loops is, in essence of process, no different than de kooning painting his first woman.  it is drive, thrust, scrape, preservation, exorcism. 62 miles of earth in 14 loops of january.


iv.


henry miller is a way to revisit a ghost of my past self.  the RC trilogy is an opera of ghosts, a swell of dead voices that fugue and echo and fade into the busy Now.  in the barking dogs, in the hunger and hardons, in the rage against repressive elements of american life, the armageddon of the soul versus earthly fulfillment, i am wholly self-sufficient.  gauguin's dogs bark at my front door and i feed them bits of my organs, and they howl and fight and froth from the teeth and i wear a shock collar that rips into my neck when i bark.  i am arrogant enough to believe that everyone, at times, feels this way and that there is no hierarchy of suffering.


v.

This writing business is the externalization of an internal act. It's managing risk while moving towards an elemental cusp, mindful movement footstepped into private earth. The work is balancing Ferlinghetti's fool (the artist like a tightrope walker constantly risking absurdity) against Zarathustra's tightrope walker (fallen, the dispersing crowd, a spasm, a dead clown).  It is the delirium to try.  it is worth a cup of nickel coffee.
Self-belief fused with creative love, a guard against apathy or aporia. (aporia is the vertigo, the modern purgatory. common.) The trudge moves forward & the running essays continue. Sometimes words collapse like false motifs  (no image no gut no sound no rhythm).  Sometimes, the vacancy of an ocean, a cathedral's emptiness caging song, the haunt of a space, architecture of lotus.  Sometimes, iron filaments of silver-flecked language.


vi.


ghosts of aporia.  that is where this ends.  the ghosts of aporia and motionlessness, the need to move in lithe and quick pulses of meaning, the divulgement of space. i run now because i was still, arrested, for a long time.  i suffer because i have the guts to and i celebrate because i have the guts to. i choose not to bloat my mind with idolatry of another's path.  look, take, leave.  the exchange is the living synapses (whether dead artists, living friends, a child).  gauguin's dogs will lunge at my achilles and the hooks of a sundance will chew into my muscles but the art will be mine, the journey will be mine, the life will be a journey, an entire thing that i can claim.


Monday, October 10, 2011

an essai conveying the layers of a morning.


i

Chronicles of a (self/or\portrait) who fell out of painting into running. A drawing of parallels between the energy of painting/creative work and the freedom to move across a cut of earth on one's own power. Olson (the momentum of a verse if verse were a mile) or Burden (crawling barechested across 50' of broken glass; getting shot in the arm in a ny gallery: events, documented) or Serra's oilstick drawings & etchings (viewer's innate response to nonobjective images-- unconscious languages scrawled in primitive gashes. Early signifiers. Pushing the viewer's role into that of co-creator. Art is, as an evolved thing, a conspiracy of fashioning, a private propaganda.). Che & Castro moving from ideal to Act in armed rebellion (violent confrontation is the highest form of Idea-Expression besides sex, which is still a confrontational involvement. . . .natural progression from previous state of art-as-propaganda.).

Running is expressionistic- there are moods in the body's movement. Long miles are philosophically engaging, physically enpowering (unless drab and long and static).  Late miles can become absinthe, elation, delirium, synethesia, distillation. Movement conveys the projective energy of language infused with idea, paint vivid with elan vital. . . I appreciate the act of running as a physical-aesthetic process, a burning happening, a continuum of motion passing through a psycho-spectral Self.  Primal and elegant like music. A certain Slant rhyme.




ii

Home. Home is the work, home is the drive, home is the source of work. Home is a transient space, a moveable feast, a Present embraced. An infinite now. Anything else is a rut, a false space: Death of an individual. a habitation.

iii

mouth of smoke and tongue of cat, hand across chest (breast pushing breath), farm decaying beneath autumn sun. steinbeckian sex dream-- beginning of october. She wore a heavy sweater knitted with gray yarn and a heavy scarf of muted earthtones. the ridges of her sweater rolled like corduroy beneath work-hardened hands. We looked out across fields of corn drying to leathered barbs. . . a dismal field, morbid and limp. Dogs ran in and out of woods and an old car rusted behind us. There was a basket of peaked vegetables wrapped in pale cheese cloth.  Heavy bread smelled of burnt wood and hot stone. When sex was survival, you remained a goddess.


iv

And I was running the stonejut spine of massanutten mountain debating the notion of home while remembering derelict dens where mahler and mingus played, narcotic tirades quiet and internal like the rotting of teeth. Tobacco-stained canvases stacked against wall on stacks of books. Montaigne and jung and wittgenstein and whatever wordswords I was reading in the white house on the eigth block of nun street. . . hardwood floor obscured by pages of drawings smeared with linseed oil modeling paste coffee&ashes shopping lists. Letters painted over, smoked up behind soft graphite. Destruction of the evidence of destruction of the evidence of. . . a fruitful time of work. Creativity thrives in depravement.
Trails cut into earth through spills of rock that bruise arches as miles accrue with shirt absorbing rain and sweat and the mists of limestone and slate obscure the surrroundings but heighten the focus. . . a scale or a balance. A distant ridge is barely knifed out in the palest of bluegrays.  The charcoal diagonals of trees drag the sky like a twombly drawing.  (Home is where the familiar still captivates.)
The fog of a mountain trail six miles deep, the fog of broken mind and a body starved, the lack of something essential. . . mind builds the grandeur of spiritual lucidity, embodies the myth of soul when body (the craving is the soul's voice, not the condition of lucidity perhaps. Craving is more emphatic than satisfaction.). . . . broken body/mind craves an intact soul and a broken soul might crave an intact body/mind. Evidence of the destruction.  
Running the pink-blazed sidewinder trail across the ridges of a mountain is the pinnacle of my philosophies-- an act that is aesthetic, explorative, simultaneously refined and primitive, necessitating self knowledge and honesty while pushing the boundaries of that knowledge, expanding that knowledge, brutalizing and healing that self. It is a pure act, private and self-sufficient.  Volatile.  It is a prayer that does something and goes somewhere and still loves when it is done.