Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Living Cinema 1989 Posted by Hello

Art Process

Seen from a certain perspective, the generation previous to mine defined Existentialism, and my generation could take that focus and explore it as an art practice. Not just that existential moments existed, but that one could develop their poetry for ourselves.

Art, then, not as a hobby for distraction, and not as a career, but as an ongoing project of creating an image of what it means to be human. And whatever aspect that is the least successful for your last piece, that becomes the focus of your next piece.

So this process, repeated throughout a lifetime, leaves a crumb trail of portraits, and of course the sequence itself is as interesting as any one piece.

The creation of the work requires a certain seriousness of purpose...although I don't mean the type of seriousness that many people think of with art. I mean serious, I mean dedication to the series. Not a flake. And that's different than a dilettante, and where the dilettante and the artist part paths.

The younger someone is when they begin the art process, the deeper it sinks, and the longer it has to mature.

I was speaking with my friend Ethan Place the other evening, and we both knew people who had put off facing their meaning their whole lives, until they retired. And when they finally retired, they didn't know what to do. Sometimes they just die, for no apparent reason.

Children know instinctively what to do, they intuitively create art, and their laughter marks the moments that they perceive--it's all so amazingly natural. But people, one bit at a time, step away from that natural inclination to create, to grow the self. And life, when its distractions recede, becomes empty. There is no vector into the future, there is only the past and the empty room of the present.

There are many lives that are just too hard, and a person who is living through one of them may not have the ability or time to create. But where did gospel come from, if not sung by those who had the hardest lives, least time, and didn't even own themselves? Or the British and Irish tunes, rebirthing in the poor Appalachians? This isn't just a rich man's game.

What is it that causes us to want to shy away from meaning?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Old News

This is old news, but worth reviewing I believe. This was published briefly during the Iran-contra scandal. It was striking enough so I cut it out and kept it. After the initial publishing in newspapers, it was barely mentioned again. Interesting phrase "...national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad." I wonder what today's version looks like.

Knight-Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON -- Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North helped draft a plan in 1984 to impose martial law in the United States in the event of an emergency, provoking a sharp protest by Attorney General William French Smith, according to government officials.

The secret plan called for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to the little-known Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments, and the declaration of martial law in the event of such a crisis as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent, or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad.

North's involvement in a proposal to radically alter the U.S. government by executive order in a time of crisis is evidence that he was involved in a wide range of secret activities, foreign and domestic, far beyond the Iran-contra affair, according to officials.

The chief council of the Senate Iran-contra committee has declared in an unreleased memo that North was at the center of what amounted to a "secret government-within-a- governement."

Monday, September 06, 2004

Lubeck, Under a Bridge Posted by Hello

There, and Offset a Couple of Centimeters

Walk for overlooked refuge
Seeking motionless being
One like every place at every time.
And in meaninglessness
It balances the caterwauling of civilization.
It balances what inertia insists.
It balances tomorrow's threat with the calm of eternity,
and anonymous existence.

This balance isn't death and it is not life.
It appears a moment after wings escape your hand.
It is in the shadow of the momentous,
in the piss-humid alley near the spactacular entrance hall.
It's the blue you yourself initiate after staring at yellow.
It's an inch to the right from the entrance of the bullet that killed Jack Kennedy.
It's a dropped voter's ballot that was never marked.
Its emptiness absorbs every boast.
It is the measure of importance and unimportance.
It is a bas-relief on a wall that has never elicited a face of the holy virgin.

Thoughts, hearth, country, globe, systemless scattering of suns.
Any unnoticed space the size of my hand.
The pressure in the forest never cocking an ear.
I remember that I sensed my late mother's presence in a place she'd never visited.
This rush of meaning into a vacuum without gesture.
Unaffected by the measure of one man's knife to the throat of another.
Unaffected by the desperately won identity of the primary causes,
Even the sound of a breeze through your hair excludes this place from your contemplation.
This is the place without chains and values,
This is the place that allows us to know love,
This is the place that is the senseless and uncaring measure of our achievement,
This is the place that is the other, and allows us grace.