Friday, March 16, 2018

another draft from 2013 I stumbled on... I remember this time, this discovery, that Summer...
these are the unedited thoughts in my head put down (not on paper)... 

NYC, 3.16.18

last summer, on a balcony in Fishkill, NY, i began work on what became a series of calligraphic drawings (acrylic) on a lightweight paper. the notebook made its way with my family and i to Montauk and Long Beach Island, where work was done on the beach under the sun...

the paint used was a pale blue. it seemed fitting, given the pastoral, lyrical life we were leading between beach, city and countryside.

in my Bklyn studio, i've a pile of similarly calligraphic drawings in black acrylic. with each work session, i try to do at least 4 or 5, before heading home to Manhattan in the German Steel...

i see these drawings as i see my work with kettle bells-- wholly satisfying in and of themselves, yet, much more to the point, a conditioning process for a larger enterprise. these works exist, in and of themselves, but they are a conditional tool in the process of my studio practice.

for several months, i saw my summer notebook as a similar exercise. but, recently,
i began to look anew...

i saw (suddenly it seemed) a starting point for a new body of work. responding to the gesture before me (as so often in the past) i went back in-- the paper buckling under weight of the additional paint-- the simple paper becoming a precious object...

I stumbled upon theses words as a draft-
unafraid, not committed to life...
from a different time- years ago:

the grand thoughts and feverish ideas
of time alone in the water
and on the beach have given way
to the reality of the city
and art and being a father…

i solved problems sitting on a surfboard
bobbing up on the swells that didn't break
and paddling hard for the ones that did.
i caught up on my time with myself
and the water and the sun
and the creatures, so skillfully beneath me…

there is so much life out there that i could cry
at what is left behind. so much life out there
that i know there are those who will never know
the feeling of the drip of it's residue.

i have loved this life so hard it almost killed me.
there are cautionary tales to success stories and most poems.
you just have to read them…

i tilt forward and press my face into the mass
of wilting pink roses before me on the table.
the scent is weak, but there. i sit on the couch
next to my sleeping daughter
and watch a man lay a shin upon the temple
of another with a beautiful rear leg roundhouse kick--
poetry of the highest order…

i am counting blessings undeserved and grateful--
probing along the way…


i miss the nights of Wooster and West Broadway,
Spring and Prince…

the nights of cobblestones and anonymous weed
lit in storefronts by Cooper Union girls,
scared of nothing and aching for everything

the era of SoHo leads one
to change the names of the innocent.

the wood floors carry prints
that are best left forgotten…

the stairs up led to art and wine
and slivers of a culture.

the stairs down led to another show
and another bed preceded
by another glass of shit wine.

but it was beautiful.

it was beautiful in a way
that is now
(if not forgotten)
long gone.

and i guess
i'm all the better for it.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day 2018 indeed... At my home, everyday is Women's Day.

It seems to work.

A day set aside to celebrate Women- perhaps the abstract concept of "Woman". I'm on board for any number of reasons, some quite personal, some quite obvious... I view the celebration of the Feminine as holy a prospect as the potential celebration of the Masculine. Though, in all honesty, we're not going to see that anytime too soon. Our culture's preoccupation with "social justice" shuts the door on that prospect with a hardy abandon. I've read my Marx, Mao and, indeed, far more than enough French Post-Modernism, to find this dishonesty and juvenile subjectivity as loathsome as I find the tenets of those that would decry the elementary issue of climate shifts, alternative energies and great friends of mine getting married and parenting any number of fortunate children. As a side note, I find it interesting that the Left has recently taken up the Right's populist tool of tossing objective science out the window... Enough.

All that being said,  I raise a glass to the Women in and of my life.

My Mother married a career military man
and ended up with the chore of raising a son the likes of me.

My Wife, for all evidence and testimony,
a Woman of high intelligence,
took it upon herself to marry me and further still,
to become the Mother of my Daughter...

My Daughter... What can I say? She is such a lovely, brutal paradox.
The Artist, The Martial Artist, The Storyteller...
There is joy in our time together that I cannot fathom...
I just try to keep up.

Last Summer, as I spent a day in the pool with her in Southern California,
I marveled at the strength of her (self-taught)
swimming and later that night wrote in a notebook:

I watch her through the lenses of goggles, 
as if a looking glass 
and see the woman 
she will be...

Friday, March 2, 2018

Somewhat ironically, I'm sipping tequila before typing these words... Though, in general, I view irony as a sordid excuse for the lame, in this case, it fits nicely. After navigating the intricacies of escorting my savage, 6 year old daughter to school on time (the vagaries of breakfast, the esoterica of wardrobe, etc.), the morning's program consisted of iced espresso and hypertrophic protocols.

The question on my mind was one of booze and stasis... For 51 years old of not giving a fuck, the lesson had been driven home, but possibly ignored. The grace, at times, gave way to the hangover and they do not come easy. I took it, then, as a question of discipline. I didn't want to quit drinking, as I enjoy my martinis on my Father-in-Law's balcony, basking in his somewhat slurred wisdom and our shared ability to create a 2 man landscape of familial travel potential and glory, but I saw the active lessening of booze as an ally against training with 22 year old college wrestlers and the very realistic order of getting shit done. Getting shit done on a higher level...

Years ago, I wrote that I was once so young that it almost killed me. Now I'm not so young. I'm the middle aged painter the 23 year old poet could never know. I am not going quietly, rest assured, but there are objective realities to be addressed...

But perhaps this is becoming too maudlin... Life is so beautiful- it gores an incision, luscious, across my soul and I walk away from all of it and meditate on the gift that my Wife is and the beauty of teaching my Daughter chess and I drive to the Brooklyn studio in the German steel to paint and sort out any number of catastrophes...

I am, no more or less, the echo of a young artist trying to get his shit together....