Saturday, August 12, 2006

Can't quite get the right fit these days. Anxious as a cat with a meth monkey on its back. Uncomfortable if I sit still, uncomfortable if I push myself to action. Surely some of it is the lack of challenge at my current job and the lack of success finding a new one. The lack of money, too, crawls all over my back like a swarm of lice. Uncomfortable days. I feel a little nauseous around the clock.

The other night--in order to keep myself busy and stave off this discomfort--I painted my bedroom. It was a sorry place, walls scuffed and discolored, painted a scrofulous watery color, the color of a ripe peach that's been sitting in a bucket of water for a week. And there were two big green hand prints on the wall. (Thank you, child-like previous roommate!) I've been neglecting it since I moved in back in August of 2004. I was content to moved my bed in and stow the clothes in the closet and leave it at that. So I lived--well, mainly I slept--in a beat-up, bum-colored room for hundreds days on end.

I decided on a saturated turquoise blue. I remember a former teacher, Bobby Joe, telling me the time he lived in Tucson and, upon the wish of his wife, he painted their house turquoise blue. The color was very intense under the desert sun, according to Bobby Joe. And that story/image stuck with me for almost ten years. Not sure why, exactly, but I could vividly picture that house, searingly blue, pushed up against a hill of stony ocher soil. So I decided to have my own intense turquoise experience in the dingy, smeary sun of Long Island City.

Of course, I had to keep myself fueled with beer for such a task. However, I made good and damn sure I completely all of the edging with tape before I hit the third beer. I'd also been preparing some tequila by letting a quartered jalapeno float in the bottle. Just enough to give it a warm edge. The paint went up smoothly with a minimum number of spills and drips. When all walls were covered, I allowed myself dinner and a few sips of spicy tequila. Overall, a good night.

Went to the Jewish Museum of Thursday to see the Eva Hesse exhibition. I think I am beginning to turn the corner on this whole Minimalist thing. There IS something moving about it, I find, if I can just sit still long enough and let my senses override my brain. It was a quick tour through what seemed to be the final five years of her career, the transition between painting/drawing and the uses of less common materials--latex, fiberglass, cheesecloth, etc. The final room of the exhibition held a collections of personal effects--diaries, photos, home movies. What I found very odd was Eva Hesse's collection of business cards for various manufacturers. Really, who cares about that. I might not be something you want to throw away but, still, does you casual (or even intimate) viewer need to see that?

After the museum, Kyung and I walked down to a diner--Lexington Candy Shop (?)--and grabbed a quick lunch. It's was a crowded little place that still made their cokes with syrup and carbonated water. (My coke was a little too syrupy for my tastes, a little flat.) BLT for me, omelette for Kyung and a quick review of her catalog for the upcoming show.

Yesterday, no work at all. Up early to say goodbye to a guest. A quick run around the neighborhood to mail off application for insurance (bet I won't qualify for some reason) and pick up laundry. Back for a read on the couch and a nice late morning nap. Then on the bike, over the Triborough Bridge to Randall's Island. Jesus, what a dump this island. Everything is under construction, with rubble piled up everywhere. Even in the areas that don't seem explicitly under construction seem explicitly under construction: orange plastic mesh construction fences abandoned (and apparently separating nothing from no one), sloughy rain-decomposed piles of dirt and sand, stacks of lumber on raw, pebbly soil. And too many shady characters pushing around luggage and purloined shopping carts.

I did a slow lap around the unscenic isle and managed to find a pleasant little corner on the northwest edge, a nature walk built through the Little Hells Gate inlet. Raised, planked boardwalk with ornate guiderails and plaques describing the local wildlife you can see in the area (which I did not.) I mean, I heard a mockingbird or two and saw a wee crab carapace floating upside down in the water but that's it.

(I am always surprised by the kind of glittering mica-flecked igneous stone I find along on the shores in the area. I am from Indiana--the remains of an ancient oceanbed--and we're sunk in sedimentary stone where ever you go: limestone, shale, siltstone, sandstone, etc. all of it worn and smooth, dully voluptuous, light absorbant. It's humble rock, somehow. Here, where ever the natural rock shows though--Central Park, Orchard Beach, some "natural" shorelines along the East River--all of the rock seems haughty, harsh and spangly, throwing off chips of keenly-bladed light, even when it's worn smooth by water. I always feel a bit lost when I see these outcroppings. More so than anything else I encounter in the area.)

Back over the Triborough and over to Roosevelt Island where I read for a few hours and listened to the iPod and just looked out at the river. Quiet in the shade, almost cold. The northern most sward held a few dozen Canadian geese; they nibbled methodically at the foam of clover. Noticed a lot of helicopter traffic, and a lone crow sat noisily in a sycamore for a while. Nearby, a large man barbecued up a whole pan of something--it looked like a mix of shimp and huge brats--and devoured all of it while tossing back a few Coors. ("Tap the Rockies!")

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