Sunday, September 17, 2017

Murmuration


Image source: Starlings #21 by Paolo Patrizi, Pyragraph

Something about grief…

Forgive me this indulgence: to put real things to words is to fail. Forgive me for my failure.

My family was stoic.

My grandmothers both lost their husbands when their families were still young.

I offer them as examples.

My grandmothers met their losses with little drama. They had the work of holding their families together. I don’t think there were a lot of cuddles going around: stories about working in the fields in the rain until the bonnet mildewed to the head, but not a lot of stories about indulgences.

There is no greater love than this …

A gift of time, energy, feeling, strength, all of it spent without question – not one moment did they, my grandmothers, consider abandoning their love.

Their circumstances, their husbands’ deaths and their changed fortunes in the world, were akin to a hurricane, a natural disaster. It was a time when the economy was crashing and it was still definitively a man’s world. These strong, strong women took it day by day and poured themselves out, exhausted their youths - without question.

These were not one-dimensional people.
They were not perfect. (None of us are perfect.)

They lived in a world where there were so many deeply engrained ideas about how things were supposed to be and who had the right to succeed: so many obstacles to be overcome. Some of these obstacles were imposed by the world and some were inscribed internally, a code written into their systems. They did the best they could within a world that did not celebrate them or raise them up for their efforts. They persisted despite the fact they had no reason to believe, no expectation even, that their children would know all they poured out for them.

Their reward was that their families, their children, continued in the world. Their hope was that their children might not suffer. Their faith was that there would be for these children moments of joy, complete and unalloyed.

My grandmother Cooper once took my sister, bleeding and crying into her arms and comforted her. The closest thing I ever saw grandmother give to a cuddle was prompted by a bicycle accident. On seeing my sister after smashing into a brick wall, my cousin and I ran screaming bloody-murder to the house. My grandmother came barreling out, like a tank or a force of nature, scooping up my long-legged sister, made stronger by grandmother love and adrenaline, carried her back to the house. Grandmother held and rocked her, wiping away her blood, until daddy got there.

I think I am the only one left who was there that day and I have an obligation to that moment and a thousand others like it.

Loss, the death of a loved one, is so much of being human.


Image Source: Enlightenment in the Cemetery: The Adams Memorial and Buddhism in 19th Century America, New York Historical Society Blog

People talk about regret and closure.

“Closure” is a f**king fantasy. It’s the voice in your head that tries to fix things. It’s stupid. You can’t fix it. Real things can’t be fixed, that’s what makes them real. There are no do-overs. You can’t reach back in time and say what needed to be said, or do what needed to be done. It’s a stick to beat yourself with.

Regret is the knife of grief.

It comes at you in the corners of your life, when you’re not looking. It slashes you wide open. Regret is stitched into grief. I think it is nearly impossible to lose, really lose, and regret not be there.

Give me the knife of regret, it is the scar and I would have it no other way.

Interwoven, tangled – into this grief are the moments, all the moments, the contentment as well as the grief, the gratitude that you, all of you, are with me.

My house is full of ghosts, lovely, lovely ghosts. These days I have a long list of ghosts. Every moment of any place I could call home is infused with these ghosts – a cup of coffee, the weed I pull, late nights pondering the universe conjure you my ghosts. I would rather, so much rather, have you in the world fully, but I am grateful that at least you are with me as ghosts.

Grief is a raven gliding high above on wind currents with the land spread out below. There is a moment when grief is raw, but not so raw as to be blinding, that it puts everything in perspective, the important things snap into to focus and the stupid fall away. You promise yourself, gliding on that current, that you won’t lose sight of what matters, that you won’t let your attention be taken by stupid things again and you’ll always remember this feeling. But of course you forget, at least sometimes. You forget what will be remembered of you and what will not. You forget what you can do that matters – and what does not. You forget, at least sometimes.

I wish I had words to tell you how lucky I am. They are with me. I have an obligation to that and I do the best I can as they did before me. I pray that the ghost I become will be as kind as theirs are to me.

Monday, August 22, 2016

true story

I don’t often watch tragic, dramatic or terribly sad films/movies/shows these days.

I’ve had enough of that for real in my life and too often, even when based on “true stories”, especially when based on “true stories”, they feel maudlin and contrived. I find myself angry (really deeply angry) at the too quick a fix, too beautiful a death; at the too clean, too lovely, too romantic and all too seductive suffering – and for me, all of it too untethered from its referent.

I often fast forward through the sad bits. I’ve felt that enough. I’m watching to forget.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ashes to Ashes

I watched the last episode of Ashes to Ashes last night.

I am very sad. Sadder than I ought to be maybe it's just that I'll miss watching it for the first time ...






but I feel grief for Gene Hunt – a fictional character – but his disappointment in those who should have been there for him, his grief at the loss of the opportunity to live the life he’d been given - these things resonant – a treatise on the human condition.

Life and our perpetual quest to make sense of it – the meaninglessness and meaningfulness of Gene’s afterlife parallels our own – our sense of reality, what we believe to be true is no less potent and no less able to shape our experience than Gene’s.

It is a lesson I keep trying to learn.

(Also – seriously – Alex couldn’t stay with him?)

Sunday, December 08, 2013



A friend, a close friend, someone I love very much asked me last year if I believe in God. This is my answer -

It is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, most of my life in fact.

I grew up with Churches and Bibles, sin, hell and repentance. Very early I came to understand that I do not believe in God as a distinct entity, discrete and removed from “us.” I do not believe in God as a single “someone”.

I do, most definitely, believe in the divine. I don’t believe what I think is strikingly new or different but I do believe in -

God: There is but one substance, one being, one existence – one material. It clumps together and is made animate by the reverberations that pulse through it. The same force that moves the planets in their orbits causes my heart to beat. The matter that is being bubbles like a caldron. Any given moment finds this material on its most infinitesimal scale unique in its configurations. All configurations will come into being, each renders existence into forms we cannot preconceive. Like sound that vibrates through fluid, there is a vibration that continually activates being. It organizes being into (ever shifting) form.

Intelligence: Being has mind. I have mind. The same conditions that lead to my mind provide for the mind of being. It may be the mind of sleep running on dream logic and I think not self-aware. Yes, naively I believe we all have access to this mind. I believe that we can open ourselves to it, and to one another. I believe that we can turn our attention to one another and find those places where we touch. I believe that we can know one another, at least some small bit. Maybe this knowing is nothing more than imagining, but what is knowing anyway?

Prayer: I believe in it.

Time: 30 billion years from now is only 30 seconds away. As inevitable as this moment are all moments. While experience causes us to imagine something else, at a certain point the expansiveness of time and the inevitability of the coming of a moment, of an event, makes it clear that all there is no time, there is only now.

ESP: I believe that it is possible to know things through “other” means. I believe that when I look into the face of another that is open and present, I believe in that face I see the face of God.

Life after death: well there is no death, at least in one-way of thinking, there is only reconfiguration and the ability to remember or not to re-member. The survival of identity depends on some configuration, some clump of being, preserving those memories that construct identity – and as we all know, memory is highly fluid and subjective. Postmortem identity – I have no idea but I am certain that it is a profound shift. On a personal level, I believe in fate and in fact in destiny and some part of me believes that those monkeys typing furiously will write me (and you) in and out of the script on more than one occasion.

The Devil: is that stalking evil which is doubt, fear, suspicion, selfishness, hate – cynicism. Any state of mind that keeps us, or others, from the warmth of fellowship, from love and joy, from the passion of life - is evil.

In the end – what I believe most profoundly is that Good necessarily means to be here in this moment, to open ourselves to contentment, to love, to joy and to not make war on the joy of others. To ease suffering where we find it and to share what is good as best we can.

It is easy to say and difficult to achieve.

How I came to believe these things:
Plato
Plotinus
Animism
Animals of all sorts including cats and dogs
Harry Potter
Buddhism
Siddhartha
Jesus
In directly Judaism
Derrida
My Mother
My Father

Sunday, March 10, 2013

life

Buddha had it right. Emotional distance -- the ability to step back and see things for what they are.

May I be filled with loving kindness. May I love and be loved.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

"It's all here in your head." - what to be or not to be.

Oscar Pistorius as a paradigm of hope ...

“You could be great, you know. It's all here in your head.” – Sorting Hat, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Nothing but thinking makes it so.

You may oppose me. My circumstances may make it difficult. I can think of myself as subject to these circumstances. I may dwell on my poor luck, my pain, my lack of opportunity, the unfairness of life and others – but then that is all there is because that is all there is then.

My circumstances may or may not improve of their own accord. To wait on this improvement makes me powerless. This is what I have now. These are my circumstances and if I want I thing – if there is some goal to be achieved then I had better find the work around. I had better find the patience and the perseverance otherwise I am a victim, otherwise I am a leaf on the stream without the ability to affect the course of my life.

I do not wish to be a victim, not yours or anyone’s. If I want a thing I had better engage in the process and not allow a single moment or circumstance to define me.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

@ Bill Busta's

I will be in the Gallery with my work at Bill Busta's Saturday, June 9th, 2 pm to 4 pm.

My show is up through June 16, 2012. Be sure to check it out and to support all the other great art things Cleveland has to offer.

William Busta Gallery



Panoramic view of install at Busta's. My work is now in the front gallery. photo: Mike Wallace




Somnabulist III, acrylic on canvas, 2012, photo: Mike Wallace




Bill Busta maintains a beautiful space. A rare professional space here in Cleveland where we haven’t yet developed enough of an art market base to support a lot of these – but we’ll get there.


My work is currently up at Busta’s, along with Don Harvey’s, Darius Stewart, Susan Umbenhour, and Andrea Joki. Really excellent company if I do say so myself.



Andrea Joki, Reservoir, 2012, oil and acrylic on linen


Other notes:

This Friday there’s an opening at the Sculpture Center – Cleveland: The Sculpture Center Show Details

On View at Zygote through July 7, the 2012 Quarter Exhibition:
Zygote Press Website

At SPACES through July 13, Essence Unique Shrine and Showroom, + :
SPACES Website

Coming soon Baazarbeque III @ Forum Art Space:
Forum Art Space Blog

MOCA Cleveland Gala Opening Weekend October 5 - 8, 2012:
MOCA Cleveland Website

Sunday, May 13, 2012

interior

The primary ingredient of our humanity is a search for relevance. All of us crave a place in the world, the feeling that we somehow matter. It is kindness, compassion, the greatest sort of good to allow for this. It is for this that we perform. It is for this that we do all that we do. At the root of this longing is a personal sense of identity. How we see ourselves is the script to our performance. This identity is formed by the voices in our heads. These voices will tell us what we will allow ourselves. Am I to be a victim? The servant of others? A liar, a thief, a misanthrope? A saint, a star, an artist? A lover of small things and large? A heart of ambition? – an internal permission to love and be loved. Somehow these things I want to say remain unclear. The things I have dwelt on it seems like forever. Let me confess it. One there is a god – it is the voice in our head. We can rescript that voice. There is a god – it is the chorus of voices that makes culture; that makes meaning. There is a heaven and a hell – it’s all right here – in “your” head. Really, really, really – we make the world we live in. If you want a kind world, then you must be kind. If you want a happy world, you must be happy and you must share it with others. You must trust to be trusted. You must give the benefit of the doubt. To be free you must be free. If you want to be loved, you must love. Whatever ethic you say you hold, you must enact it. – You must see the horizon to know the curve of the earth. I have decided to give over. I am giving over.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

mal amant.

Je t’aime. Toujours. Ma entité assiégé, mais mon coeur est fort. Je n’oublie pas.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

42





I don’t believe, not for a second, not at all, that deprivation and suffering, for the sake of deprivation and suffering, makes people good. In other words an ascetic life – not merely ascetic but one which is stripped of pleasure – is a wasted life.

To be given and granted all that is desired without exchange is equally a waste. When everything is free and easy it is meaningless, valueless.

Life is meant to be lived to its full capacity. It should be seasoned with laughter, good food, good work, kind words, and the arms of friends. The greatest good is to live in this manner and to contribute to a world which is not mean and stingy with such things but makes them more abundant.

This is the meaning of life.

Ever vigilant in internal dialogue … set your guards against the enemies of this life.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Bill Radawec: Into the Blue

Bill Radawec: Out of the Blue

Statement on Bill Radawec's Website

Bill Radawec Website

Bill's Facebook Page

I have come recently to believe that it’s more important to live an interesting and engaged life than it is to live a “happy” life. It occurs to me that these two conditions are sometimes in opposition to one another. An interested person is awake, aware, eyes are open, a state that doesn’t always make for happiness.

I moved to Cleveland in January 2001 and thus I came to know its strange energy. A tension of opposing identities, on the one hand, rich and replete with possibilities, on the other, shrouded in a veil of self-doubt. Cleveland is a place in transition and it rests rather uncomfortably in this liminal space. It waits still to know what it will become next.

Within this clear medium of Cleveland’s particular time and place are suspended defining moments of intensity. From opening to opening, from event to event, I have made my way. Again and again, I would see him, meet him, be introduced, and reintroduced to him. Eternally coming to know, never knowing, never coming close – ever the thought “sometime in the future …”

Un temps perdu.

What I can tell you about Bill that I do know? That he exuded energy in every meeting. Smiles beamed forth and some spark radiated from within him. He seemed both happy and interested. An anomaly within the world for there was no doubt, from seeing his work, that he was thinking, thinking, thinking, and to this uniqueness he added an even rarer condition when he married Ibojka. He became, clearly, a happily married man. The two of them together magnified and redoubled the energy that had been Bill’s alone. There was a joy between them.

Ibojka and Bill, together, moved through the world filled with the wonder of discovery. It was a way of living the two of them carried through what became Bill’s final illness. Ibojka and Bill let the world into their lives with an unimaginable generosity, sharing this most intimate part of themselves.

We know, don’t we, that we all have times like these to come, and in their generosity they have shown us how to do it best, with joy, love, and grace.

Cleveland is going to miss Bill Radawec.

Bill Radawec passed away on July 5/6, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

happiness ...

some part of being happy is giving oneself the permission to be happy.

happy is maybe not the most satisfying state to live in.

it is more important to be interested i think.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

yearning to be free

Tangled Webs by James Stewart


We are free.

Free to choose, to act.

Free to decide where we will put our energies, what we will sow and to some degree, what we will reap.

It seems sometimes that our culture has lost any sense of ethic. Lying … and it doesn’t seem to matter if someone knows that you’re lying … as a way to manipulate situations and people … has become a matter of course … and next to that as strategies are anger and manufactured drama.

How do we shift this?

Personally … I have chosen to eliminate those who regularly lie as a strategy of control from my life. The only thing I can do is to choose not to participate.

Monday, April 25, 2011

thank you Mr. Cave ...

Harry and Herminone: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - O Children by Nick Cave



There’s something potent about this song and it was genius on the HPDH1 director’s part to give it to this scene. It at once embodies the promise of youth – beautiful, strong, alive – married to the inevitability of loss and gain. The song is poignant and thrilling … It sounds like being in love.

Ignorant, arrogant beautiful youth – it possesses us still – even those of us left on this rocky crag and lost to its breathlessness.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

the use of cheesy movies ...

I love cheesy, escapist fantasy movies. They shelter my soul and embedded within them is the ancient wisdom of all our cultures and to prove it here's a quote from a cheesy movie that I doubt I'll ever watch but the trailer had this ...

"I'm not here to save you. I'm the main character of my life." - Daydream Nation.

And it's true ...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

being here now



Revelations

On loss and other real things

I have been thinking … maybe way too much … these past months. The summer especially has been a time of contemplation. I have had a need to come to terms, to find a way of thinking about “things” that is tolerable.

over beer with a friend…

We all die. To everyone there comes a death. For those who love the dying that death is never fair or good enough or kind enough … It is always cruelty that our world should be diminished and that the ones we love eclipsed. The death of the loved is always a portent of our own end.

To each of us comes a death and never can that death satisfy.

---

All is metaphysics … while all may be knowable, there is never knowing enough to hold it all. The mind is at once infinite and finite … its capacities endless yet never all encompassing so that no matter how much is known there is ever the unknown but not the unknowable.

---

There is the “stuff” of being. It is being and it is thought. Thought is pattern and organization it is inherent to a being which arranges and rearranges, endlessly playing out every possible configuration, every possible reality. To ask if there is intelligence in this design is a misconception, intelligence is the substance of being.


---

There is no time.

We can only know now because we are in this configuration and it is necessarily this configuration that we know. We can only know the now we are in.

If one could travel back in time, time would either collapse, all nows becoming now, or multiple nows co-existing, segregated from one another. If I go back in time and change my own past then I become two … twins out of joint … One of me with my “original” history and one of me with my “altered” history and those two can never be rejoined. Once a thing has happened it can never unhappen and that is to say it has always been.

This is the nature of infinity … all possible moments beyond our ability to hold them all exist. It is only our knowing of now that creates time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

searching for venus ...


I realize now the importance of competition
Without competition there is nothing to push against
No standard against which to measure the quality of production

There are infinite reasons not to achieve
Infinite reasonable reasons not to give over to …

All will understand the limits of our success
Because there are reasons
A thousand reasonable reasons
That all our friends will understand
And commensurate
Over the slings and arrows
Which impede our progress

There is nothing to measure
But what we do

Sunday, January 24, 2010

an unseen tether


Saint Catherine of Alexandria

It is easy and it is difficult to know how to surrender and how to give permission.

We live with the unseen witness and we ascribe to this witness many judgments. We believe that somehow if we suffer others will know our suffering and we will gain worthiness through this suffering. Somehow through debasement, by prostrating before others we prove our goodness. Those few exempted from these interior recriminations are those who through some fluke of rearing or through some internal dialogue have managed to persuade themselves, or are raised to believe, that they are worthy … some believe this in excess.

It is nothing more than a contemporary self-flagellation with the same degree of usefulness. While the diseases it spreads are perhaps less virulent than the plague they are none-the-less damning in their outcomes.

No doubt the content of this witness’s character was formed in the early days of Christian guilt. It is no doubt the descendant of those cultural beliefs that allowed the aristocracy to believe that God had ordained them to their places and had just as firmly placed their lessers rightly beneath them. Conversely, those lessers, equally convinced of their place, were satisfied to have a sense of ego/goodness fed through the virtues of their self-sacrifice. (I am made better than you in my suffering.)

Always it is a balance … how to silence this witness and reconstruct the being in some more helpful form… to know and accept that we are somehow worthy of our happinesses.

It is true that faith must be internal … it is the content of that faith we must reconstruct.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

blue


always back and forth
A struggle to do this simple thing
To see and know what has been done
And to know what yet needs to be done

It is the struggle
The knowing of the limits of patience
The standing still
The absolute aloneness of that struggle
of seeing

The community of the lovers of solitude
Those who will stand
And take responsibility for what they have put into the world
A profess-ion
A declaration of the self

It has always been this
This secret love

You are wrapped in its folds of
Forever blueness
My fingers stained

Is it not worthy
Of all my time
Is it not worth
My life
And is it too much
That I profess
My love
In this act of struggling

Sunday, January 17, 2010

afterall


Gustav Klimt, Danae

So why not
Give over
To the life deferred?

Waiting no longer for the validation of
An other
But the self embrace

Why not
Give over
To the love of life?

To joy?

What virtue
To deny the imagined life?

Laugh

Give over

No more waiting
Now to what is loved

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

today and everyday ...

i'm thinking of you. happy birthday.



actions reveal motives
motives decode actions
the choices of a life … write a truth …

in other words …
if you want to know someone
look at the consistency of what they do
a single moment might be an anomaly
a thousand moments writes the story

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

petition


note to self:

the people who would say evil things ... are usually evil.

put another way:
don't let the bastards get you down.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

a toast and an adieu...


a toast to the greatest cat who ever lived … (raise a beer and down it) … there was this animal that impacted my life in a way and to a degree and in such a positive manner that I grieve his death as much as I have grieved many others and more than some others I’m afraid … to have him in my life added a texture and a personality that frankly surpassed some humans. stupid to think this… maybe … but I believe that these lives are as potent and as lived and as felt as many an other. I know people who will never get the simple joy from living that he did … that will never value their companions as he did … that never had the courage that he had, nor his devotion… thanks William for finding me and having the kindness to share our lives. i love you always.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

learning to live ... finally





Mama cat
Home
My room, my bed
Pictures of grandfather, sister, mother, father, me
Clothes
My life like it was

RAF
Grandmother
My heart
You
My life like it was

My righteousness
My obliviousness
My innocence
Grandmother
Him
My Youth
Mike
Bobby
A close friend
Daddy’s mind
My heart
Alabama
Mother’s voice
Daddy
My life like it was

Mother
Part of Me
Him
Trust
My life like it was

Lucy
William

--

The true marker of commitment, the signifier of devotion is to bear witness to a lifetime of moments.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

i don't even have time to write...


I'm so busy and I'm thinking of so many things. I so want to get them out before they slip away but the clock keeps ticking and it's already eleven and I have to go to bed.

oh well...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

sometimes i ponder...

the living cannot intrude on the dead.

the dead do not fear death. the dead do not regret the manner of their passing. the dead are not haunted.