Thursday, March 02, 2006

"My Father, My Son"

"Art has deep and difficult eyes and for many the gaze is too insistent. Better to pretend that art is dumb, or at least has nothing to say that makes sense to us.
If art, all art, is concerned with truth, then a society in denial will not find much use for it."


"My Father, My Son"

"I don't know where to go
I don't know what to say
I don't know what to do"

...i am going to tell you a story, a old rusty story about my friend.
When l was just a teen growing up here on the island l use to see this man riding around on his bike, usually wearing a orange skirt, and towing behind him on a rope, a tiny little dog.

It was many years later, now somewhat a man, l was in my studio (which was downtown and opened to the public) and in walks a drunk mike. He was interested in what l was doing, and l somewhat interested in what he was doing. He told me to come and visit anytime, he lived in the woods in a old log cabin.

"I sit here, sipping my drink of wine, no toothache, no headache or troubles as the birds sing within the trees. With a can of sardines and dried bread, that's my fancy banquet" -from mike's own journal

The first time l went to visit mike, l went at night. He shouted at me to come in...and when l entered...he was sitting in the corner in a big wooden chair he had made, a bottle of vodka in one hand, a century sam cigar in the other, and a big happy smile on his face. The air was thick with smoke from a leaky wood stove, the floor you couldn't see, covered in bottles, clothes, pistatio shells, cantelope peels and other things. Wow, l thought.... it was my first of many visits.

"...changes like the tides, most days low ebb, rare days...raging high tides" -mike's journal

When mike was young, he collected lingerie, yes he would steal lingerie off of the neighbor's clotheslines. His dad finally found his stash, hidden under the basement stairs. Mike use to say "Lights me up like a torch" and many times he was referring to his lingerie hobby. He also liked to wear women's clothing, mostly undergarments but occasionaly dresses that he had made. There are many reasons a person likes to wear women's clothing, but l think for mike, it was a date, a date with himself.

Mike had many sketch books, even attended the vancouver school of art in the sixties before his father squashed that.

"I'm a blasted off old man. My father was in charge of all the people going to war and , as a result, he blocked my name out. He blocked my name out.
Blocked me out."

Mike lived in a small town, and he didn't have any friends, people thought he was weird and he so wanted contact, companionship, friendship. Sometimes he would call me at four in the morning, "l love you, l love you" he would holler.

In the last year of our friendship he was becoming weak, l would find him on the floor unable to get up. ...and he was hallucinating, would call me, telling me there was a little gypsy in the corner of the room. I would go over and remove the pile of clothes and wheelbarrow from the corner, but he still saw it.

Mike was brilliant and passionate, he had a soul.

I went to mexico city for two months but left friends to watch over him. He died while l was gone.

"when you coming home son...l just don't know..."
(cats in the cradle)


ALeks said...

Is this true,we did not comment here,not one of us?? Shame!! How can this be? What a beautiful way of telling about someone,telling a life story from this man! I shall return here again with some poetry or something..... unbelievable .....

aleph said...

At this point I´m reading & listening to Wait´s song... it´s a sort of a trip this post of yours, and I´m in the middle of the voyage. Maybe then I´ll just stay in silence and rest, here, for a while.

Momo Luna said...

Hello Ken,

i wasn't on blogger yet when you posted this, so i missed this post, but thank you for directing me here in your latest post. This is such a beautiful post, such intense, heartfelt photographs.
It brings tears in my eyes. And it also helps me to be more kind and empathic for some difficult experiences in the past. Thank you so much.
There is so much love in this post (as alwways in your work)

(i hope this comment comes tru)

Sweet greetz!

kenflett said...

Thank you so much Sandra and Momo, l appreciate you taking time to look at this post.

kenflett said...

Aleph, thank you.