Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Edward Avedisian

I met Edward Avedisian by chance at Max’s Kansas City when I sat down next to him at the bar. Otis Redding filled the air. “You know, “ Edward turned to me and said, “Ultimately what pop-music is all about is hiring someone to cry in public for you.” He watched for my response, eyes alert beneath his remarkably high forehead. I would come to know that ‘ultimately’. It was a regular conversational preface, because, as Edward later explained, it was his desire “to describe everything without reference to any convention.”

I ran into him often. He would sit, scruffy, restless, yet somehow detached, watching the crowd of artists, rock and rollers, drag queens, speed fueled denizens of Warhol’s factory ebb and flow, eddying through the smoky darkness around the famous, the rich and those who had drugs to sell. “Something for the head?” a small extremely handsome Apache, so sad and far from home, yet so hip would whisper as he passed by. Edward watched silently, then growled: “ Ultimately, all talk is crime.”

As it turned out, Edward was a painter of great distinction. Recently he'd been very famous, but now not so much so. He occasionally took teaching jobs at provincial universities where he holed up in a motel, ate acid, and generally tried to turn the minds of his students inside out. “It’s a big country, and the only thing keeping it together is television,” said Edward about his travels. Nonetheless, he lived well, had a small house in Chelsea and divided his non-teaching time exercising his lucidity on everything he encountered in bars, drugs and on his painting. “There are only two paths: decadence and spirituality. I have chosen decadence.” He had a wide circle of friends, but I got the impression that his unsparing, random insights made him familiar in many circles, but not a part of them.

Painting however remained his focus.. His pictures continued to explode in uncomfortable contrasts of wild pinks, excessive yellows, soft greens colors, wan blues, applied in blobs and swatches of varying densities and textures. They were simultaneously sophisticated and extravagant almost to the point of tastelessness. When the Metropolitan bought one, he was pleased. “Well, there I am up there with Velasquez and Picasso,” he shrugged. He thought that it was also somehow ridiculous, evidence that the prevailing standards had gone into serious decline.

Late one afternoon, when we’d met because he wanted me to help him sell a painting without his gallery knowing about it, we were walking through Central Park near the museum. “The great impetus in American art is ultimately to recreate the world at the time the artist’s mother was still a virgin. That’s why there’s always so much period recreation in movies and abstraction in art.” A lady swathed in mink walking an emaciated Chihuahua cut past us. “That dog belongs on a bun,” Edward snarled, and the woman, looked at him anxiously as she hurried away.

Usually however, I met Edward late at night at Max’s. Most of our talks took place as we walked, he to home and I to the subway nearby. One cold night, as we left the bar, a troupe of young men, with shiny hair ratted and teased, dressed in bright satin skin-tight pants, velvet jackets, strutted in teetering on alligator boots with two inch platform soles. Edward stopped and watched. “The point is, you could never run away from a mugger in those things. Don’t you think that ultimately they’re trying to magnetize some kind of violence they’ll have to submit to?”

Another night when it was hot and muggy night, you could almost feel the breathing of thousands of people moving torpidly on the streets or stirring in sweaty sleep. Edward talked about a movie he wanted to make called “The Ultimate Bar”. The characters in the film would be the ‘stars’ of a number of different kinds of bars: an Irish workers' bar, a pick up bar, a gay bar, a leather bar, an artists’ bar, a wall street hangout, and so forth. These people would meet periodically at one of their respective haunts, but on one particular evening, one would say he'd finally found the ultimate bar. Then they would all go in a cab uptown to a tough Puerto Rican neighborhood. They’d enter a tenement and make their way up a creaking, urine-smelling staircase to the fifth floor. There, they’d enter a dim slum apartment, rooms painted in streaky, faded Caribbean blues and flamingo pinks, cracked linoleum floors, and all filled with small formica-topped tables. Around all the tables sat parties of middle class people, “really nice, decent people,” Edward explained, “ but they’d all be stoned like they’d each drunk a whole bottle of Romilar cough syrup.” Waiters would circulate attentively, bringing small bowls to each table, and as they withdrew, a sudden glow of light would warm the rapt faces of those sitting around it. Mystified, the new arrivals would move in closer to see what was going on. In each bowl, the people would be burning money. Edward sped through this scenario as we walked; suddenly he stopped: “ This city is the greatest teacher. I’m so, so thankful.”

Late one night, as we neared my subway stop, Edward said: “You know, soon you’re going to have to make up your mind.” I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant, but at the same time, I did know. Now I think that Edward saw me far more clearly than I then saw myself, and his remark that night still touches me as a gesture of true kindness.

Just before I left New York, I gave a party for everyone I knew, regardless of their milieux; so there were artists, druggies, musicians, academics, the old lady who sang solitary hymns in the adjoining apartment late into the night, secretaries, school teachers, therapists and so on. Edward arrived early in a black motorcycle jacket. He was exhausted from some long acid trip and he collapsed on the couch. Ray Johnson, alert, gossipy, and always seeming to be so sweetly innocent, circulated, soliciting people right and left to sign up for the whimsical witty mailings of his New York CorrespondAnce School. (Who would imagine then that years later he would end his life, swimming solo and intent off into the cold night sea?) He spotted Edward napping. “Oooooh,” he whispered in my ear, “Edward, he’s very rare now.”

My life outside New York was involved almost completely in Buddhist study and practice, but I heard that Edward had painted huge murals for Green’s, a posh restaurant run by the San Francisco Zen Center. No, he hadn’t become involved with Zen in any other way, but he was said to be friends with Baker Roshi. That’s all I heard. And when I came back to New York, he had gone. No one seemed to know where.

Still, Edward always remained on the periphery of my thoughts, and recently when I finally succeeded in finding him on the internet, it turned out he had died two months earlier. It seems he had moved to a town on the Hudson upstate, had been living there with a partner for a long time, was active in some organization devoted to rescuing housecats, and had continued to paint. But the paintings I saw on his gallery's web site were figurative landscapes with a distinct kinship to the style of the 1930's. They were clearly about where he lived, all rendered with a sensuous affection, ease, curiosity and, somehow, gratitude.

I was very sorry I had located Edward to late for us to correspond or meet, but I was so deeply relieved that he had come to rest in such a place.


This however still summons the New York of then:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEVyf6y_-Y4

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Elysium

“The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every fowl of the air; upon all that moveth upon the earth and upon all the fishes of the sea. Into your hands they are delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you. " (Genesis IX 2-3)


I
Remembering desiring imagining feeling: how deeply is one seen as self-deceived?

II

Of mute creatures confined in hide and flesh to moo and bellow, low and moan; one outstanding for scruffiness, another for proud command, for warmth and tenderness, for kindness, for a strange scent, for japery or unsociable waywardness, for sudden rage:
What record is there of their herded passing, what tale of traversal on the soil? What voice can tell off the various ways in which one loved and was loved, one knew and was known?

III

Loved perhaps for many reasons, but lives brought forth, nurtured and sustained for the rich red meat to be stripped from their great frames and for the hides that cover them: these to be scoured and tanned to remove the tufty fur which so resembles the stubble ground of harvest fields where these same cattle once grazed.

IV

Patient and enduring, nuzzling slowly, sociable with their dense drizzling noses, herded hither and thither as the convenience of the little killer-men dictate, so to wander in groups gathering and dispersing, each impressive volume on broad hooved feet, miring up the hock, sinking firmly in the mud then ambling slowly to higher ground, a particular tuft of straw perceived dimply through white-lashed eye; Up to where the red-gold sun warms through the thick hide, wandering ponderously up to there with grunt and moo and sidewise nudge of herd-mate, strange old friend. And on the crest of the rise, a cooling breeze, cool of evening bring acrid scent of plop and sweet of still warm grass and buzz of blowing fly. Forbearing in these modest happinesses which great bulk and time afford. And pleasantly ignorant of prod and truck and chute and electrode and of knife which shall end in a moment of overwhelming knowingness an idyll on the land.

V

A long social history of them who stretch existence in this slow way of idle days, unknowing servitude but obedient to the longer strand of time which is measured by winter hay on hard ground and by tender grasses returning, measured by time in thee winds and rain on broad fields and in the crowded dark of barns, lowering in the comfortable warmth of fellowness. There high in the dark eaves live the flickering swallows dim above them, darting down and near them, a trivial enigma, uninteresting omen.

VI

Though no longer to kick up heels, no longer to flip and flap and roll in clover, nor nudge up close to the great beloved warmth and delve beneath it, there in the best of dark to suck and taste the smooth sweet white flow of sustenance, of milk and love. Gravid now, ponderous and slow-moving, ruminant, measuring in time and slow herd drift the distances between the broad rolling earth and the flocks of pinkish clouds drifting likewise in the sky. Vast satisfaction there in the heavy factuality of that.

VII

But looking to the eye screwing sky-ward in the socket, head slinging back and up, when fear like a cork-screw shall twist out placid sense. What, in warmth was so pleasantly enjoyed: green sour chewing cud or squish in hoof-wide ponds while wandering through rain which dripped off matted flanks, what can prepare for the onslaught of horror impossible to resist, that splits the skull in two like an axe-edge crashing down between the eyes.

VIII

If there is a wind that can take from the body its spirit, does it carry the metal-sharp imminent scent flashing down at them and bring terrible shock to their patient gentle days that have never known its like? Then suddenly aware of all this rolling time as a cruel deception, masking the sordid brutal nature lying on the far side of the enclosed fences where their wanderings stopped. Does this sudden knowing kill as surely as the night to follow?

IX

Sense merged so deeply in this monumental meat and bone, slow to move in this frame adapted to al life of lengthy increase, perambulating interest, disgruntlement and occasional bumbling panic; all life as if there were a measure according to that pace, assumed at the end a certain visionary quality even as it is stripped away.

As if all those afternoons in sun and those morning plodding through mist leaving hoof-prints in the dew, those warm, earth-bound smells of fellowship in the cold of darkest night, all stop. They hover as if there had been a meaning which does not apply to present circumstances. All are now the view of Paradise seen from Hell, blinding in their unity.

***

When I was living next door to the wonderful artist and photographer, Liza Matthews, she was taking many photos of cattle in the nearby pastures. I wrote this to accompany a portfolio of those pictures.

Which leads to:

Couperin: Lecon de Tenebres 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbOYS08dAeU&NR=1

Thursday, February 12, 2009

TIME AND SU TUNG PO

Our possibilities in this world are circumscribed and provided by the fact that, as is asserted in both Buddhist and Shambhala tradition, the human realm is formed as a realm of desire. Our lives are conditioned by our desires and an unending effort to find happiness by giving them perceptible form. Language carries us from the silence of unspecified longings and wants into the articulation of specific passions (as both subjects and objects). In our arts, we explore this condition, and we evolve techniques to share our discoveries. This is true whether the field of endeavor be in sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, or understanding.

Out of this set of circumstances, we extend our hearts far beyond the constraints of our time and place and individuality. Out of solitude and love, the deep bond of our sheer humanness allows us to share in worlds that might otherwise be inaccessible.

Here for instance is a poem by Su Tung Po who was one of the great exemplary scholar-poet-officials of the Song Dynasty. His life was subject to the rigors of political instability and his accomplishments were scholarly, artistic, and administrative which last include re-designing the system of dams and channels in the West Lake district. He wrote this poem:

‘On a Boat, Awake at Night’

Faint wind rustles reeds and cattails;
I open the hatch, expecting rain – moon floods the lake.
Boatmen and water-birds dream the same dream;
A big fish splashes off like a frightened fox.
It’s late – men and creatures forget each other
While my shadow and I amuse ourselves alone.
Dark tides creep over the flats – I pity the cold mud-worms;
The setting moon, caught in a willow, lights a dangling spider.
Life passes swiftly, hedged by sorrow;
How long before you’ve lost it – a scene like this?
Cocks crow, bells ring, a hundred birds scatter;
Drums pound from the bow, shout answers shout.

(line 12, the drums indicate the boat is under way.)
(-tr.Burton Watson, Su Tung-p’o Copper Canyon Press, 1994, p.77)

Moon, water, sleep here have a presence, a mystery and are pregnant in a way that it might be difficult for a contemporary man or woman to contact within this modern world.

This moment has disappeared more irrevocably than perhaps even the poet could have imagined. And yet, here it is, so true, so poignantly alive that our hearts are bound together in that one moment across time.


As in this:
Little Jimmy Scott audio : Day by Day
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc5-ftCENPM

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Igor Stravinsky: A Soldier's Tale

Peter Barbieri, a remarkable musician, pianist, composer and author, suggested I write this for a performance of Stravinsky's trio reduction of the full score. Stravinsky originally wrote the piece when he needed something to make money during World War I. He was stuck in Switzerland, had no access to his usual sources of funds and wrote the piece for those forces available to him. Despite or maybe because of these circumstances, the resulting work is a haunting evocation of a soldier's fate.

(I should note that throughout his life, money was notoriously important to Stravinsky. While Peter Lieberson’s father, Goddard, an elegant and witty man, was running Columbia records, he became good friends with the composer. He was well aware of Stravinsky’s obsession with money. Thus, for Christmas one year, he sent the composer a copy of the U.S. tax code. A few weeks later, he called Stravinsky to get his reaction. “Oh my dear,” (imagine a Russian accent here) “I wept on every page.")

Well, be that as it may, here is A Soldier's Tale:


L’HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT

(Narrative to accompany Igor Stravinsky’s trio reduction – Douglas J. Penick, after C,F.Ramuz)
I

Roaring guns have stopped his heart;
War has split his brain apart.

(Begin Soldier’s March)

Battle’s over, Peace is here.
Racing to erase his fear,
He marches home through shadow lands
Craving family, love and clan

As sunlight dims and lilacs fade,
Music lingers still unplayed
In worlds of promises betrayed.


II
(BEFORE PETITE AIR)

Battle scarred and shell shocked after years of war, a soldier trudges homeward through a shattered world. Tramping over rutted roads, memories of his family, friends and fiancée are all that give him strength to stumble on. He dreams of his familiar loved ones, living in world of peace, awaiting his return. His heart quickens as he nears the farm town nestled in green pastures by a stream. His steps lighten as he nears his home.

But he hears the shriek of carrion crows and sees, far off, ravens circling round the spire of the church. All is silent. There is no laughter, no sound of men at work, nor cattle lowing, nor bird song in the air. A gentle breeze brings the harsh familiar stench of charred buildings and of rotting flesh. Suddenly our soldier trembles, and his soul grows cold.

He sits down beside the sparkling stream whose pearling is the song of long remembered happiness. He reaches in his pack and brings out the old fiddle that his grandfather gave him many years ago and taught him how to play. Through years of warfare, he has carried it. He has played it often in the lull of battle to lift his spirits and rouse his comrades from despair. (pause)

Now, standing in the shadow of a willow tree, chilled by foreboding, he plays once more.

(Petit Air au bord du ruisseau)

III

“Ah now, that’s s a lively tune. But a shade, well, desperate, I’d say.”

Our soldier, lost in playing, looks up in surprise. A tiny, white haired old gentleman, attired in a dapper frock coat, sits blithely on a nearby tree stump, legs crossed and smiling at him.

“ Oh, I didn’t mean to shock you. I heard you playing, and I couldn’t resist. Such a strange old melody. And such a very fine old violin. Those things are rare now in these parts.”

“I’ve been away so long…” our soldier sighs.

“Yes, I see that. And I’m afraid that you will find things very changed.”

“My family? My…?” the soldier stutters on the verge of tears.

“We need not tell such sad tales yet. Sorrow will find time enough. But you are tired and distraught. Let me play for you on that fine old fiddle. Do let me give you that small happiness. Give it to me, and, I promise, I will lift your soul.”

Suddenly our soldier is paralyzed with fear. His grandfather often told him that music is life. The violin and the music in it were his and his alone. Never should he give it to another.

But our soldier is so very tired, and his aching heart so very full of longing. The little man is so genial, so persistent, his voice so silken smooth. He reaches for the instrument. His fingers are remarkably supple, long and white. Our soldier’s fear flares and fades, and he surrenders his violin.

He grows sleepy, and dreamscapes begin to crowd at the edges of his sight. The little gentleman deftly tucks the fiddle beneath his chin, and as if the violin had been his forever, then begins to play.

(Petit Concert)

IV

Stirred by the little man’s fiery melodies, our soldier’s heart, so long tortured and frozen, breaks like a thawing river through a dam. He seems to rise up in the sky. He flies on hidden winds like a cloud racing through the air. Below, the empty farmland and his home-town disappear, and with them all his fears and hopes.

Now he finds himself drifting through the boulevards of a great metropolis. Night-clubs, dance halls, restaurants and cafes are filled with handsome young men and elegant women, strolling together, laughing, - and kissing ardently. Neon lights in every color flicker on and off. Bright music fills the air.

Our hero does not know if it is night or day. He finds himself in a dim-lit bar. A young woman, slender, blond and slightly resembling his fiancé but much more bold, takes him in her perfumed arms and leads him to the dance.

(Tango)

V

The tune changes, and he wakes in the young woman’s warm bed, twined in her arms. He is stunned and confused. He has never been so happy. The lovers dress hurriedly, and a carriage arrives to take them to her family’s house.

There, beneath a sparkling chandelier, a grand reception is in progress. Her mother, lovely and sympathetic, greets him warmly like a long lost son-in-law. Her father, a most cordial and confident gentleman, introduces him to well-dressed nobles and important men of business, and speaks of him proudly as his heir to be.

(Waltz)

VI

The tempo quickens, and a world unfolds. Marriage, children, ah alas the in-laws die: peacefully, it’s true. And our soldier, now quite transformed, inherits all.

He has an estimable and prosperous existence, ornamented with the love of a beautiful wife, the admiration of three graceful children, and the respect of his employees and faithful servitors. This well established life is spiced by dalliance with a Spanish mistress, regular visits to the casino, and weekend hunting trips on the estates of his noble friends.

His life is a happy dance to a chipper and giddy tune.

(Ragtime)

VII

Suddenly the music stops.

Our soldier wakes beside the splashing stream. The little gentleman has vanished. The violin is gone. Our soldier shuts his eyes and hopes that, when he opens them, his dream life will return. But no. His body aches. He has no choice but to continue marching on his weary journey home.

Soon enough he arrives at his village. All is quiet. Nothing seems changed. His neighbors are returning from the fields. He waves, but they do not notice him. He enters his house. His parents, his brothers and his sister are having dinner. He greets them, but they continue eating as if he were not there. He sits down at the table at his empty place. His mother looks towards him, and silently begins to cry. The others look away and do not speak. He takes some bread but cannot break it. Galvanized in sudden shock, he bursts from the house and runs to the tavern.

All his friends are there. His best friend is flirting with his fiancée. She blushes, and she strokes his cheek. She simpers.
Our soldier shouts in outrage, but no one hears. He strikes the deceitful suitor, but the man does not feel the blow. He reaches for his sweet-heart’s arms, but his hands pass through her flesh. She shrinks from him as from a draft. And suddenly, as if he were on fire, he flees.

All is burning pain, mirage, and dream. Then, from afar he hears the pale demon’s agile hand draw more fevered and seductive melodies from his own violin. “Give me back my violin. Why have you done this to me?” the soldier cries.

If he could die, he would. But frenzied music draws him helpless on. His feet, his legs, his torso, and his head gyrate, and cannot stop and cannot rest.

“You Satan. You Satan, how can you be here?” he cries in anguished rage.

“Ah,” the sly old gent calls sweetly back, “This is Hell- nor am I out of it.”

(Devil’s Dance)

VIII
(after end)
As sunlight dims and lilacs fade,
Music lingers still unplayed
In worlds of promises betrayed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

SPARKLE

Tobias Walch was such a splendid friend, much older than I, but then we’d studied with Trungpa Rinpoche for many years. Usually we met in whatever kitchen where Tobias presided. A small, soft-featured, dapper man, bald with a fringe of gray hair, a soft German accent. He worked intently, darting irritated glances that sometimes turned to rage at his more careless amateur assistants. In terse asides, usually when I helped him in the early morning (me: “Tobias you cut things beautifully. I just can’t.” Tobias: “That’s because you have no training.”) , I came to know something of his past.

Born in Berlin in the 1920’s and his father was a famous stage actor who, from what I gathered, was witty but not exactly nice. “Tobias,” he said when his son was in his early teens, “In this life, to survive, you need talent. Unfortunately, you have none. It’s best you become a cook.” And indeed after eight years of apprenticeship, that’s what Tobias became. He worked in the kitchens of various Buddhist establishments only after he’d retired from his position as executive chef at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, a job he hated.

Father and son fled the Nazis; his father ended up in the German Language Theater in Basel, and Tobias remembered people rushing up to his father on the street, addressing him as ‘Nathan the Wise’ after the lead in Lessing’s play of the same name in which his father had had often triumphed. The father explained: “”You know, there are only two kinds of people in this world: those who can express things very clearly, very precisely and very beautifully, and… those who never understand anything.” Something of his father’s mordant humor rubbed off.

Me: “You were married once, weren’t you?”
Tobias: “It lasted two weeks. It was terrible.”
Me: “What happened?”
Tobias: “I was working in Las Vegas, The Sands. At night I was bored, so I’d gamble. But a pit boss I knew pulled me aside: ‘Why are you doing this? This is for stupid people.’ ‘I don’t have anything else to do.’ ‘So, go to college. Take a class.’ ‘You can do that?’ ‘Yes.’ So I did. I took a philosophy class. I met a young woman there, and we began having coffee together. She agreed with everything I said, (and here Tobias shrugged and produced a naughty smile) so, of course, I thought she understood me.”

Tobias also had a wonderfully scary way of letting all the muscles in his face go slack and his eyes go blank; it made him look like a hatchet murderer about to pop. There was no way to know if he meant to do it. One evening he was bent over his plate, eating supper amid the hubbub of the dining room at a Buddhist residence house. Suddenly he looked up, made his hatchet murderer face, paused and said in a loud voice: LIFE… COULD BE SO WONDERFUL. The room fell silent as Tobias resumed eating.

I wish I could remember the hundreds of interchanges where his focused whimsy somehow made things slide into an unexpected gap. Alas, I can’t. But even on the edge of dying, his sparkle didn't dim.

Tobias’s heart trouble got worse and he spent more time in bed. After a life that was, as far as I knew, quite celibate, beautiful women, many beautiful women came to attend him. This soothed him no end. But one morning a particularly vibrant young woman came by to visit. “How are you,” asked Tobias. The woman glowed: “Why… I don’t know but I’m just feeling really wonderful today.” Tobias: “Don’t rub it in.”

And then the night before he died, another woman was feeding him, holding a spoon up in front of his face, urging him to eat.

Tobias: “Actually, you know, I’m not in any hurry.”




ENVOI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRdyDSbWg7w&feature=related

Sunday, February 1, 2009

DELAY

TEXTS FOR JOAN ANDERSON’S PERFOMANCE/EXHIBIT OF RETREAT PAINTINGS

CHANT OF THE WANDERING STARS

In nearby shadows
Rise from the ground, each decked with stars,
Those who watch and bless in secret
The soil and the streams.

The star people have come;
They have come here.
The star people come;
They come here.

Here: fathers and mothers;
Here: elders and children

In nearby shadows
Rise from the ground, each decked with stars,
Those who watch and bless in secret
The soil and the streams.

The star people have come;
They have come here.
The star people come;
They come here
To the red earth.

Now they stop,
Just for this moment,
Here
On their long journey.

Now they stop,
Just for this moment,
Rising from the red earth,
Here
On their long journey
They appear.

They stop
On their long journey.
They show themselves.

Shining in the dark soil,
They rise.
They show themselves;
They show the dream pattern
Of the stars.

Wearing the pattern of the stars,
Marking the brown earth
With the sweep of rainfall:

Wearing the pattern of the stars,
Marking the red earth
With furrows of water;

Wearing the pattern of the stars,
Marking the black earth
With the glare of reflected sun on water;

Wearing the dream pattern,
Red earth
Marked by the plow;

Wearing the dream pattern of stars,
The red earth,
Marked by the scars of battle;

Wearing the secret pattern,
The dark earth
Marked by the scars of memory;

The star people have come;
They have come here.
The star people come;
To the earth.

Just for this moment,
They stop here
On their long journey.

Just for now,
They stop.
Rising from the red earth,
Here
On their long journey
They appear.

They stop
On their long journey
They show themselves.

In nearby shadows,
Rise from the ground, each decked with stars,
Those who watch and bless in secret
The soil and the streams.

III

As the spectacle endlessly ends & vanishes, somehow we refuse to accept the completeness of impermanence. But all the forms and instances of art that now exist, many are damaged, fragmentary, and all are devoid of their original context and hence meaning.

Beyond that, compared to all the things which have been made and still exist, how many more have been destroyed or lost, each of them a Repository of love and intuition, skill and concern, the outgrowth of a civilization that no longer exists.

So that being the likely fate of what we make, could we then embrace this? Could we regard what we do and the doing of it as completely momentary, having no future and accomplishing no communal result?

Momentary, surely. But cause and effect being inescapable, surely what we make and the making of it does influence the next instant in some truly unknown way.

So, making our diagrams of color or cloth, of sound or speech is perhaps like sand painting and may, for a moment, draw something into the world which has only hovered on its borders before being utterly swept away.

It is hard to overcome the desperate habits of permanence and completion. As the spectacle endlessly will be ending & vanishing.

***

FROM AN ACTOR:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_ByGXCey68