28 February 2001

Thank You, Luca Battaglia!

Thank you Luca Battaglia. I bought one of your photographs (Vetri rotti) this past weekend and here it dons my study wall. The frame is cut out of the hood of a 1969 Chevy Impala. It’s beautiful – the picture and the frame. No doubt it will bring me boundless inspiration for years to come. Thank you Luca Battaglia.

I stretch and the world relaxes. Wistful and sleepy this afternoon.

24 February 2001

Blessed Art Thou Who Blossom

Blessed art thou who blossom. Hand in mine - bone, blood, flesh and air. Finding our places with each other. It's so surprising. I rode the bus from Divisadero to Arguello and I was somehow amazed at the number of people in this world who I'd never seen before - that we've never talked or shared a single moment. I go from zero to intimacy in two point four seconds and no one bats an eyelash. It can be so beautiful and overwhelming and kind.

I wandered to a consignment store on Clement. I'd seen photographs there over a year ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about them. They were close, intimate pictures of windows, doors and walls. The frames were as illustrious as the pictures. The artist cut them from old cars, mostly steel, smoothed and rusted. Each photograph comes with information about the car the frame was cut from - the year, make and model.

I'd gone inquiring after the artist whose photographs haven't donned the halls for many moons. The owner, who I recollected as rather maudlin, seemed cheerful and enthused. She'd just been thinking about the artist, she told me, and had set up an appointment with him for the following week, to view his work and bring some back into the store. She would call me when his work was in and promised to take photographs of other work he had available. She paused and eyeballed me from head to toe. "They cost about four hundred dollars," she said, seeking an expression, "is that in your range?" I told her that I'd like her to call me when the pictures appeared and refrained from answering her question.

When I left the store I looked at my shoes, checked out my boy-fit Capri blue jeans, my ragged black oversized T-shirt and vibrant yellow rain slicker with dirt around the sleeves where I've cuffed them because the slicker is way too big. For the life of me I'll always dress like a pauper. It's partly why I don't fit. Insisting on comfort. I insist on comfort. I'll buy seven feather pillows for my bed, flannel sheets, plush cotton robes, that seven hundred dollar chair with perfect lines and an artful design and is comfortable. It has to be comfortable. I sat in thirty desk chairs before I chose the one that acts as my throne. The desk is too high and in elevating the chair my feet don't touch the ground so as I sit in my study my feet rest on three books, the top one a dictionary. I stand on words and their meaning. What else do I have? I need these things. I rely on them.

She called me Wednesday, the woman from the store. She'd chosen four beautiful pictures and handed me a bundle of photographs that she'd taken of his other work. He'd only let her take four pictures, she explained as she splayed photographs across the sales counter. I gathered my selected rejects into a pile and asked her if I could take the others to the window to study them as I viewed the four she'd had hanging. I decided on a corrugated steel structure with a wood framed window housing broken panes of glass. She'd have to call to see if it were still available, would I wait while she rang him and save her a call?

I listened to her on the telephone, "The woman is here, the one I was telling you about" - I felt awkward and a little titillated to be "the woman I was telling you about." I wondered how it was I was "told about." Was I a women who came in with a floppy soiled slicker who probably won't buy anything, but isn't it uncanny that I called you last week and someone came inquiring after your work? However that was, he'd be bringing the picture to the store on Monday and she'd ring me when I could pick it up. I paid and left.

All I have this evening is a receipt for something that's yet to arrive. Something that I've already paid for, that's truly a thing of beauty, and in the meantime it's merely something to look forward to. When it comes I will react as though it's a surprise. I know myself like this. I will go to retrieve this thing in only a few days and I'll receive it as an unexpected gift, with genuine appreciation. I laugh at myself, the way I do this.

Yet somehow this evening, fumbling around the notion of how I crave comfort, dismiss convention, stand on my ream of words and their meanings, await the arrival of that which I have already paid dearly for and approach it all as an unexpected surprise sits in the cradle of my thoughts. One day you will say enough, and it will be enough, and I will leave. Those are the words it makes me feel. Yes. Feel. Strangely disconnected. Because at some point I'm suppose to leave, tired of stumbling after you trying to explain myself. Those are the words that follow. It's so difficult sometimes to take responsibility for the lives we've created. This glass of lemonade is my witness. You can change your mind, but not once the photograph has left the store. Facing one another with our palms up and hands empty, frustrated and speechless. I'm not talking about my lover or my friends. Should we conspire to find the wisdom in it, this awkward speechless moment is the cost. Yet we sit dumbfounded and amazed when all words fail us. And it's almost easy to miss, in the midst of our exasperation, that this lump of clay changed shape and something that was out of sorts was suddenly set right. Blessed art thou who blossom.