Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Derby DNS

thanksgiving morning at 6h17am was cold at wrightsville beach, commencing a 10m circuit in longsleeves and skullcap, tapping an ipod to cypress hill grisman & bach (an eternal braid).  the kicks started swift with a wind in my back and an easy stretch of legs while the stride strengthened and legs find feeling, not good feeling but a feeling, and then legs pull into the knees, engage the hips, arms are swinging and the breath seems to swim between the slight thrust of shoulders and the body synchs from the forefeet up through the posture, arch to neck, and you just bend into the sound of breath between songs and let the muscle tear at the road, let the shoes push into the body's gait, finding that natural movement, finding a rhythm, innate and trained at the same time, a total refined motion.  headwind confronts pace-goals at the turn-around, immediate doubt, but into the wind you bend and strive because you know you have a meal to make.  the mind cycles thanksgivings past, images that haunt and images that remember and those that celebrate, and a gladness and stillness and gratitude hits and the miles fall away with tiny garmin chirps and only two other runners on the entire distance to shell island and the bird reserve where you see a pendulum of a far birdflock in abstract logarithm push and pull in masses of gradating shades and turning back into the sun and out of the wind the legs resume grateful work and you imagine the fine day ahead as an accomplishment founded on every day you've ever lived before.  9.7 miles in 1h06 mins and back home, to my family, stopping first for a bouquet of flowers and a bag of apples.


getting the guts to start something, to commit to something, is difficult. keeping the guts intact- preserving the momentum- requires a brutality, a disregard of the absurd, a ferocity. It requires an absolute conviction. And at the end of a work cycle is that feeling of Achievement, glorious and brazen and affirming, a bloodrush through the body, a denial to the resentments & doubts stewing in the innermost rot of a person. A completed goal is a life complete, if only momentarily.
But sometimes life doesn't converge, things get garbled and deprioritized and muddied together in a mash of average. . . a cyclic erosion. And at a lowpoint of esteem, missing a goal is akin to bottoming out or failing or worse.
From the get-go, i was wary of investing my hopes into the Derby 50k road race. however, I kept envisioning myself at the start line, toeing against an imaginary clock with a field of friends and talented runners. pastures and cows and a ribbon of 31 miles wrapping the landscape. My body felt strong, if anchored by thursday's feast. the comradery was off the chart with Mangum Track Club hosting the event. But, alas, work dictated a schedule that made the full distance impossible while my ego ridiculed any efforts at a lesser participation.  Despite my waning enthusiasm, I piled layers of clothing and printed maps, checked fuels and body needs, set the cell alarm. Friday's shift ended early and had me home at 11pm. Derby is a 3h drive so 4am was the wakeup with 4h20am being the latest departure time. Honestly, upon hitting the mattress, I was already resigned. A six hour round trip, fuel costs, work at 3h30pm that afternoon, and a general embarrassment allayed any desire to make it happen.  I considered a local turkey trot, a four mile trail run, but I felt too embarrassed/disappointed to run another race.

Derby 50k was a race i'd hoped to nail since the Mangum Shirt Run. I hadn't realized the depth of my commitment to the race, but missing it had a big impact. Subconsciously I had connected the race and my performance with some deeper self-esteem, some sense of self-worth, and to not even toe the line cost a great deal. I missed a gathering of kindreds, of friends, of fellow madleggers.


whether signing up for an endurance race or laying paints on an old plank of gessoed plywood, sometimes we just get blocked from complete accomplishment. or we must redefine "accomplishment."

Meanwhile, winter light hits, its dark at 5pm with low clouds brewing storms, and the hollowness of late november light folds into itself like a theater of sleep.

Arkansas (Occupy America) is gessoed with a few charcoal lines.  The cursor blinks across ebb/flow, the expansions and constrictions, the push/pull of this essay, this essay moving laboriously like a weak torso.  My road bike balances against the wall by the door, craving afternoon sunmiles.  Kyote saws an audible sleep.
Life is a complex layering of feeling and work, of nurture and harvest, of momentum and pause. frequently, a negotiation of anticipation.

tuesday 11.29.11
y'day was 12 miles across the trails of brunswick nature park in 1h50mins, a substantially stronger run than my 20km run there one month ago.  rain and late november's flatgray nonlight dragged me through the first five miles before things became enjoyable and lucid and then roots and trees and the lilies and the stillness, the emptiness, the loneliness of the coastal rolls, the ohm of wind across tar-blackened waters and the cool weight of mud caking on calves, all sounds fishy i know, like some bad new age propaganda shoved into a runner's world, but running is something to be enjoyed, to be felt, to be absorbed.  running is a natural thing and the body, once it remembers the sensation, awakens to crave the movement.  to run in nature is an act of merging and emergence; it operates along a metaphysical hinge of body and earth. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

NYC Bones.

My wife trained and prepared for nine months to run 26.2 miles across the five boroughs of new york city. The goal involved exhaustive fund raising, countless miles in predawn dark and countless more on the sleepy saturday and sunday mornings. Her preparation left her glowing and excited as she exited the hotel room at 5h30am on November 9th, looking strong and confident. Her eyes were clear and sharp, focused into the work ahead. And once begun, she smiled from the first 5k to the 26th mile (a fact documented in dozens of photographs along the route). She savored the experience, relished the difficult passages as well as the vibrant neighborhoods and their various characters. She absorbed the goal and lived it and nailed it. In grand fashion in fact. An admirable feat.  Congratulations on a great run darling.  I am proud to be a part of your experience.

From there it was de kooning, chirashi, war horse, patsy's, nj transit, flat tires on airplanes, east village, soho, noho, coffee black as soot, orange brioche at maison cognac, katie holmes' black denali chased by guys with toenails for teeth, the grand spires and churches of manhattan, the smells of bleeker (cigar, espresso, pomodoro con aglio), 5th avenue diamonds, sunrise miles in central park, chinatown's smells of garlic & hot soy & glass noodles beneath inkbrush calligraphy, cattelan's entire oeuvre hanging like a mobile from the ceiling of the guggenheim. . . . artschwager, beuys, warhol, monet, modi, klee, miro, kadinsky, prince, (some shit I skipped), segal, serra, fischl, oldenberg, pearlstein. . . . rembrandt, rauschenberg, titian, tintoretto, sargeant, turner, steiglitz. . . twombly's sculpture (rustic implements painted white), les desmoilles d'avignon (picasso gets me everytime with that one).
the de kooning retrospect. . . the early figures, the ghostmen-- self-modeled, his hungry years, bubblegum pink furniture on acidgreen backgrounds.  next, a newspaper pushes through glossy black wrestling a flat black, powdery white grinding against form, against formlessness. his black and white paintings- the charcoal of a new york nocturne. the architectural build of ashy vapors from which a seated figure emerges. pastel choruses where breasts heave like labia or hang heavy like pale, velvet curtains.  de kooning's women: Blistered pink, scorned paint, a folklore of oilpaint flesh. Cats hiss through linseed teeth.  the sag harbor nudes. the massive, yearning canvases that came after the door paintings, pastorale with fields and beaches and skies.  the clean arias of his final alzheimer years.
small drawings by kiefer, basqiaut, close. The tear of a french cigarette package on a motherwell collage. The endless bakeries of manhattan, the delectable goods crowding windows. . .
Language of lionesses, sex of commerce. Tiffany's yellow diamonds. Wall street heels clog vivace, leather that matches a briefcase. Sex of tangerines, sex like tangerines. Mists of perfumeries walking in the upper 60's. bikes cruise the hudson with thumb-bells. ghost bikes off delancey ave (a visit and a remembrance, RIP rasha). Fifth avenue dazzles and haunts, the mix of armani empires, lindt chocolates, st. patricks catheral's squaring up against cartiere, the mixture of languages like a postmodern opera-- debase the verbal with cacophony. The rollicking admixture of grandiloquent churches and mirrored glass skyscrapers. Steam of morning sidewalks, the grates where subways roar like engines of time, swallowing a lone saxophonist's "take five" solo.

overall, a week in nyc.