Monday, May 28, 2012
I met him for the first time in the lobby of the Carleton Arms hotel. He was smaller than I had thought, but also more beautiful. We sat on the stairs and watched Sammy the lobby dweller become vaudevillian, before playing Buck Hunter in Gramercy like teenagers. Before I knew how dirty he could be in the bedroom.
Getting ready to go and see Patti Smith in Detroit. It is just one of those once in a lifetime things - listening to her in my favorite room at the Detroit Institute of Art, listening to her read in a very small audience. The woman flaneur of our time, part wolf, part watcher. Deep and dark traveller. I smell sandalwood when I watch this and feel the rough wool of old fabrics. I sense a fierce shaman and I pierce Ontario with trains. I cross borders so I may meet her.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
Yoko Ono. Bronze Family Album, Blood Objects: Exhibit : Shirt 1993 Yoko. It was right beside the bronze you cast of your dead husband’s bloody shirt that I lost all battery life in my mobile. I found myself crouching down in the corners of the room seeing if the gallery plugs were on or disconnected. I felt as though I was genuflecting around you. Yoko. You are the queen of the death by a thousand cuts. No, you are the queen of the surviving of life’s thousand cuts. And here I am scrambling in front of you, in front of death desperately seeking communication. The security guard nearby stopped talking to the strange gentleman and offered me a plug, which I accepted. Standing around the bronzed shirt of your dead husband, we spoke of artists. It was as if a magic key had unlocked each of us from our specified roles within the space of the museum, long enough for us to speak of those of us who dedicate everything to its shadowy, steep path. I have spent so many weeks over readings where empiricists try to pin down and dissect the places that art might take each of us – the maker and the viewer. I have scrambled over words laid down by the linguists and semioticians, the art historians, the scientists and the philosophers, and yet really, I still don’t think that much terrain has been covered. The security guard tries to find some poems on her mobile, written by her niece. She mines her device for a connection to me and gives me the gift of another poet . The gentleman as it turns out is an old hippy from the area, deeply familiar with the various tribes of the Cass Corridor and the artists that inhabited this disorganized string of colonies and communes peppered throughout the neighborhood. He takes me on a rushed trip across the gallery in order to show me some of his tribe’s artifacts all hanging together in a strangely curated room. Their embalmed hearts pinned around the room for us to look at. The trip there was a strange blur of paintings and sculptures. I say strange because each one popped out of the blur for one moment, emblazoning itself onto my mind. A collection of artifacts brought back from the journey. I come back to my phone in a daze. I leave the gallery finally and head over to the Cass Corridor. I retrace my steps finally. As I do so, I remember being told of the spirit bead. It was a common practice when beading moccasins, to place in a bead in the second pattern that disrupts the patterns from matching.It was in the imperfectness of the repeated pattern that the spirits could enter and that we could remember our humility. My steps back are like those spirit beads. They are an imperfect retracing of the way I came. They are the nature of revisited terrain. They are my whispers to the spirits. ****
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Letting go of the shop was the best thing she ever did. It was a long damn run over on Dix. You know its been long when some of your clients are beginning to drop off like flies. Honestly though, with all the drugs and alcohol that roamed through Detroit in the eighties, who's to wonder. For some reason she remembers the strangest things about all of her customers, she has tiny vignettes of her moments with them. She remembers a tranny begging her over the counter to find bigger party gowns, her desperation clinging to her words. She particularly remembers her large yet delicate hands as she wrung them together. Maybe coming down off a long night, with all the drama about the dresses. It seemed a bit much to be so worried after dresses. The young Canadian girl with unmatched eyes standing and pining for the old lucite box purses that were just a bit beyond her budget. She came most weeks as if on a mecca. The wiry dealer with twisted fingers, arthritic, clearing away the cobwebs of pain with every breath, gingerly fingering old swimsuits, silk slips, thirties dresses out of her shopping bag. The treasures she unearthed over the last week from the closets of brittle ladies in Grosse Point, the grubby thrifts up Woodward, the garages sales in Dearborn. And of course there was the junkie that broke into the old buildings in the city, obsessively photographing everything he took out with a beat up old Polariod, like a detective. It was as if he couldn't truly let go of his artifacts. He needed a simulacra to hold onto. And now her house is decorated with a story in everything. A visual mapping of her life, the stories of lives before al wound into each and every object lining the rooms. She kept promising Gezel that she would let go of some of the haunted things. The things that creeped her out more than the others. The memento mori, the weird voodoo doll left behind by a jerk of an ex-boyfriend. Time to let go. Oddly, she kept dreaming of Hong Kong, Dubai. Clean steel.
Friday, May 11, 2012
He was a lumbering gentle bear. He could be seen walking through the Eastern Market with his fabric shopping bag, rooting through mushrooms, heritage corn, local honey. His dungarees were cinched at his waist with a belt tied in a knot, as all of the buckle holes had been torn over time. The way he handled the produce was like a lover caressing his beloved. One by one his hand selections found their way into his bag. Silvery fish, damp bags of beef, tomatoes bursting at their skins. He never spoke to anyone and always finished his shopping with an egg breakfast at Louie's, his bear body spilling out on either side of the stool. It was to the point where the waitress simply knew what he wanted. Twenty years, every Sunday. His shopping bag on a neighboring stool, his eyes steadily reading a travel worn paperback book. The eggs were always the same, his coffee swirling in an old diner cup. He would linger here over breakfast amongst the clatter and conversation, and at the last possible moment, he would gather his things and begin his walk home along Gratiot.