Tuesday, August 25, 2009

it always smelled of rain...

"Our mood was gone, a restless night, unfulfilled desires..

morning came clear and brilliant. I will do some heads
of you today Zinnia,. The mexican sun, l thought,
will reveal everything, something of the tragedy of our
present life may be captured. Nothing can be hidden
under this cloudless cruel sky. And so it was that she
leaned against a whitewashed wall, lips quivering nostrils
dilating, eyes heavy with gloom of unspent rainclouds.
I drew close. I whispered something and kissed her.
A tear rolled down her cheek and then l captured forever
the moment.
-edward weston photographing tina modotti 1926

Mexico City...history built on history. I was given a canada council
grant in the nineties, travel to mexico city for two months. They
(Fondo) gave me a home, some money and the rest was up to me.
It's hard to write of my trip there, so much, it's like a thousand souls
entered my body, like the Sahara, sands being whirled about, moving,
changing, coming together.

My home was in the district of Cayoacan and l walked the streets
every day. The green tent, this was my treasure. I discovered a
big green tent on the sidewalk outside of a paper factory, tarps,
couches, tables, a stove, a light. The tent ladies, they had been on
strike for a year, and l visited with them every day.

I brought them goods, baked goods, pop, and a deck of cards.
We played rummy, they would make me hot corn drinks, none of
them spoke english, maybe a few words, "hello, goodbye, love"
But it didn't matter, we communicated through laughter, gesture,
doodles on a note pad, and just plain knowing.
It's like the "dancer in the dirt", when you are honest, sincere,
natural, and just "being", then we hear, we see, we feel.

The tent ladies were always an enigma to me, l didn't understand
everything, like shadows that floated behind me, just catching a
glimpse of them but never able to grasp them.


Jose - l met Jose in an alley, he and his wife lived in a tiny cement
room, a bed, a dresser, and walls filled with photographs, crosses,
and symbols of "the virgin of guadalupe". Jose and l would just chat
in the alley, share smokes, grasped at words that sounded familier.

La pura verdad


I met her in an ice cream shop, and in her stumbling english
she asked if l would teach her english, she would teach me
spanish. Sandra was different than the tent ladies, where
as the tent held a darkness, a sadness, Sandra was light,
joyfull, "Oh ken ken ken" she would say with laughter.

She helped me navigate mexico city, took me places, even to
her home for dinner and to meet her parents. She was more
spanish then mexican. She was so lovely.


Rosa- it was Rosa that l attached myself to at the green tent.
She seemed to be in charge or perhaps just more respected, she
guided me as l guided her. We passed yellow notes back and
forth like kids in grade school. She was a dark chrystal.

...l digress, this is a painting of rosa, of mexico, of my loves back
home, memory, past and present, roaming around in my
body, my soul, painting is always so much more, so many lives
go into a painting, so much history.

"it always smelled of rain"

I would walk Rosa to the subway most nights, around
midnight and in that mile there were so many scents.
...close your eyes and smell what is around you.
It was assaulting, but in such a delicious way. It was like
the earth made love to you.


...silence is how l should sum up my stay in mexico city.
My beautiful friend Ron wrote the following for me and
next to silence it says it all...

"Aquaintance with a great white turkey sums up a wonder l feel.
The ugly beauty of this abused bird speaks to a dark light in me.
This unlikely creature confirms how utterly strange life is.
It is a strangeness which shocks, amuses and comforts.
The white turkey of Cayoacan heals our alienation.

Suddenly, we smile in recognition of a greater belonging.

It is this amused earthy wholeness l would have us remember."


...we are moving
from the shores of the west coast to the shores of the east coast,
close to bear river, nova scotia. I will be driving very soon, with
Cedar and a truck of belongings 6000k's.
I may not post for a couple three months, but l'll return.

I was going to leave you with edith piaf but have chosen this
wonderful video of Small Faces (itchycoo park) as it just seems
like better driving music.



Monday, August 03, 2009

dancing in the dirt...

well the road is out before me
and the moon is shining bright
what I want you to remember
as I disappear tonight
today is grey skies
tomorrow is tears
you'll have to wait til yesterday is here
-tom waits

...like a good carny player gone bad, my hands are empty.
No story, no post as l am off to the U.S. with my lovely family
for a week and a half. So l leave you again with a couple of snap
shots and a little running brook.

...a long time ago, while drinking one night at the "rocking horse"
pub, l noticed something. There was a couple dancing.
She was pretty, wearing a nice country dress with flowers, she
was precise with her dance. He was roughly dressed, hair askew,
it's like someone just kicked him in the dirt like a stone. But his dance,
he dances like he has no secrets. He doesn't know how to dance like
her, he doesn't know how to dance at all, but he does. He dances
beautifully wild like he doesn't care...
It's like Christopher Alexander's book "the timeless way of building",
"Care but don't care"

This is how we should build, how we should paint, how we should write,
how we should live and how we should love.

and her knees up on the glove compartment
took out her barrettes and her hair spilled out like rootbeer
and she popped her gum and arched her back

-tom waits


before l go
please take a look at "apollinaires tattoo"
He works hard, he lives in Cape Breton and you have to work hard
to live there. There is a beautiful sadness to his blog, a loneness,
something deep, like the ocean, or like a endless field.