July 22, 2008


The panels are ready, 12 canvases glued, stapled and coated with four coats of matt resin. Out comes the paper and drawing tools I bought at Barna Art in Barcelona. I'm just dusting off the chops, muscle memory. My thoughts swirl and I am treading in them, too many of them, tides and eddies and currents and undertow. I'm looking for my divining rod, trying to make some sense out of this swirl, not wanting to do too good a job out of it, as I am getting the tools and materials of art dirty. Silly things, my hand merely moving with the mind a wander. Take a chance, break the egg. The Spanish use a word for this: caprichos, caprice, whim, fickle. Yo quiero a ser poco caprichoso, but in the way of Goya's Caprichos.

Whim and gravity make a great combination.

I keep thinking of my brother. I miss him. My folks only had two children, my brother being the younger. i suspect he never liked that, being the baby brother. Before we became teenagers, he sized me up and told me in sage tones: "Dennis... you are... a young soul." Well. That was nice. Having a soul is indeed good news and being young is universally good currency. There was not much to say in response so I nodded and said something profound like: "...yea, ok." One beat, two. He said: "I am... an old soul." with more than his usual sense of contentment.

One always reveals oneself in a critique.

I always thought that my brother lived (lives) in his head. He had (has) an empire in his skull, much like my father did. My dad always had an amiable countenance, a courteous smile was ready for everyone, but there was a deep interiority that was forever inaccessible to the world at large. I will never forget every morning of our youth, his cigarette glowing a bead like a lighthouse in fading twilight, the sound of coffee percolating, mixing with the tobacco stained air. For hours, every single morning. What did he think about all these years? We have the genes of hermits in our family, for sure.
My brother and I don't talk to one another very much (not an easy sentence to write), I wish it was otherwise. The last time we talked over the phone, he was riffing on about death, speaking breezily about it, taking comfort in his identification with what he thought was the metaphysical, about how we were eternal beings and how this world is an illusion, a passing trifle. I tried to plant wedges of counter argument into the conversation, about cultures of death and cultures of life... to no avail. I'm sure he would disagree with my version of the conversation. He went on and on (even if it was probably a brief chat) and my gears were grinding until I couldn't take it anymore.
I said, finally: "Michael. All graves have claw marks at the edges."

Posted by Dennis at July 22, 2008 8:16 AM

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