Monday, October 24, 2011

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.