Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sometimes at night when everything seems like hornets inside the walls of my body I suit up, shoe up, go outside to the night air and I just look up and let the night beam down on me for a change. You can see your words in the still night winter air hovering just outside your reach. In the night there is just one monolithic block of darkness and it is the studio, the workshop, and it's black as any night need be. I walk ahead, scrunching through the ice-snow-ice layers of the path. Somehow I get a kick out of ducking under the grapes as I approach the door to the studio. Once inside I know I have some dozen steps up to the ceramic studio, the "thinking area" with it's wingback chair and little rugs spread out to catch the winter ice. I shake them out now and again, beat them on the sides of the garage/studio and then slap them back down on the floor in case I caught the dust thereby that caused the cancer or infection that takes me out someday. Ya never know.

The first thing to do in the studio at winter-night is to light the kerosene heater, that toxic nasty smelly thing that makes the fingers warm. Then sit back on the chair and stare at the masks on the wall. All those faces. I remember every emotion that went into them, every one. Sometimes I wonder if I have the right idea, this baring of the raw emotions in clay, but I love irony so what else can I do? Each face is a moment in emotion, delicate as fire hardened clay can be, yet you can take it up, look close at the lines and hang it on a wall for dozens, hundreds of years. Such irony and yet so neccessary because otherwise what would be left? If I didn't explain to thousands of generations yet to come how I felt at such a date what kinds of things would they think up to fill the holes? No, you have to lay it on the line, tear the shirt open and let them see that 25 watt red painted bulb shaped like a heart. Yup. That would do it. But all in all I guess I'll just shmeer it all together and nail it to the wall and shine what light I have upon it and let the chips fall as they may. It's all mud, people. All mud faces on mud walls. The thing is, as you look upon their muddy faces you think about what kind of kind of face you would want to see and Lo there it is upon that muddy wall, that wailing wall built on blood and sand. Maria Matinez's DNA is inside every single shiney black pot she ever made. Her soul lives on in so many ways. Suppose every random soucre of your DNA dried up and you could only save one, where would you want your genome published?

Suppose one night you woke up and at the foot of your bed was a man standing. You sat up, not in fear yet, but disturbed. Then he walked around to the side of the bed and sat down beside you, you heard the bed creak and felt the sheet slide. You knew who it was, he's been dead for days, but words were not enough to speak, so you said nothing. You sat and watched and he sat and watched you watching while pictures and words swirled in your head. Suddenly, it's over. You are in the studio, looking at the faces on the wall. Each one seems to be speaking something about some point in time but it's all so hard to hear. You look at one face. It winks at you. It's okay, it's just a cosmic joke, just some fun. You can go back to the rest of your life and figure that something got done, something lasting. Something made of dirt, made of water, shaped by mind, changed by fire yet still retaining a bit of the Maker, some Maria. The Desert taught me a lot, it taught me to know when something was dry and dead, or just being there in the sun, waiting to move. Nothing on those walls seemed dry and dead, yet at the same time, nothing seemed ready to move.
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