The One to Skip
Words cannot describe the disapointment of waking up this morning and finding that, against all possible hope, I was still alive.
I had been dreaming about pieces of water colour paper soaking in coloured solutions so diluted the hues were scarecely perceptible. I can't remember what this meant but somehow, these sodden, tinted sheets of paper explained me to myself. Signifier and signified coupled in almost divine unity, I fought desperately to keep the sign fixed in my mind. The image soothed me inefably and it seemed all the secrets of the world were revealed to me as I watched the paper float silently atop vaguely orange-ish water in pyrex dishes.
I was happy there, deep down under, but against my wishes, something tugged on my line.
I began barreling towards conciousness at break neck speed, the tranquility curdled by nitrogen invading blood, chaos wresting peace. When I got there the bends were crippling. Just before breaking through the surface, I lost the papers. The trays of delicate solutions emptied out into a stormy sea of sentience and in chemical terms became nothing more than parts per millions, parts per zillions and so on forever.
The cold and snow today is peaceful, cleans out my lungs and calms me. I'm fixated on peace and calm today, after the rock and roll, whiskey and heartbreaking ravages of last night. This then, is also one of those days when, inexplicably, everything brings tears to my eyes. On the way to work I rode the train all the way around the loop instead of getting off and walking a few extra blocks like I usually do. It felt peaceful on the train. I was moving through an alien world. Chicago is a piece of this alien world.
Winding the corner onto Lake, I peered into the secret world of a parking garage. The cars were parked on an incline, leaning to one side and looking like they'd tumble down were someone to flick the first one in the row. Rolling, crashing like steel dominos they'd cascade clunkily down the concrete slope, glass shattering, metal groaning. This made me want to cry for no reason I can explain.
I thought aboug going to the art museum after picking up my pay check. One would be hard pressed to find a more peaceful place than still, silent galleries. Late last night, I was saying to someone how painting is like a stuffed vaccum cleaner bag. It did it's job. It's over. It has passed from the realm of potentiation. My analogy-generating machines clearly hampered by a stretch of 24 wakeful hours, a smokey campfire I'd doused with alcohol. I don't understand why I was being so contrary. I could have just as easily recounted how when I was younger I would sit and meditate in front of the signature Mark Rothko at every museum I visited. I would sit for a very long time until my legs cramped up and tears streamed down my cheeks. At the carnegie museum in Pittsburgh, there was a particular Sam Francis painting I used to drop in on regularly as if it were some child with whom I'd established visitation rights. In my solipsistic 19 year old world, I was convinced that this painting was a plastic embodiment of a poem I had written entitled "The Historyless Morning" and privately refered to the "composition no. 12" or whatever it was called, by the same title.
My sentimentality knows no bounds of taste or reason and it was this, truly, that led me to study art in the first place. I miss that version of myself and on days like today I catch a glimpse of it.
If I had a magic genie lamp the first thing I'd wish for would be a 1000 more wishes. the second thing I'd wish for would be to be lying on the beach right now. Any beach, it doesn't matter as long as the sun is toasting my skin and its all red and yellow and orange under my eyelids and the beach sounds and voices sound echoey and far away until people walk by and then they grow louder and then fainter again as they pass in the sand. My Third wish would be to regularly cry again in front of paintings.
Instead of going to the museum, I might just get on a train I don't normally ride and ride it for a long time and just go where it goes and watch the snow.
Hopefully in a day or two I'll feel better. I'm going to quit drinking and smoking for three days.
I stop just short of making that a promise.