and, so stuck,
i began reading old essays about miralles
(i haven't read a book about architecture in years)
and shortly thereafter the words were describing my own work
the way they did when i was a junior in college
describing not who i was, really, but who i wanted to be
words about architecture that are not cracked manure (for once)
but sacred vessels holding,
(because words contain not only ideas, but states of being)
carefully, patiently, secretly, and quietly,
a lot of me from long ago.
but there was more there than i'd left,
because i have worked at this,
haltingly, and for someone else,
which always changes one's course, even if it is not for the worse,
and suddenly i could look at everything i've done in the last six years
as part of that description of me,
that i've taken small steps toward some big ideas
that i'm not just a junior in college
but i am also between who i want to be and who i will be.
i began to see who i can be
the way miralles' plans, overwritten and overdesigned
describe several projects at-once
his drawings an armature for the overlapping past and present,
his building a persistent courage to produce architecture that is weird
or, not what people expect, and resistant to description.
an architecture not for entertainment and significance but for movement and vision.
he is someone who believes that architecture, while never neutral,
is also never moral, and nor is it capable, on its own, of describing anything;
no, wrong trajectory
his work never even touches the subject of language
it is entirely focused on what we will see and feel inside it.
there will be no words.
and then, leafing through the large photographs of igualada cemetery,
a place i visited in 1993, shortly after its completion,
i was reminded of how powerful that place is
how the winding pathways were the place i wanted to live and die in
"i want to die here, so that i can live here forever"
and then i got the idea for the High Line,
clear as clear day, clear night, but new.
a new idea,
at that, my mind searched the downtown sky, my eyes searching the periphery in a vain search for tall lights in that direction. even without my glasses, i could tell there was nothing there. without my eyes i could have discerned that, yet my eyes did their instinctive search anyway. i was too inebriated to remember that i'd gotten over losing them. i'd forgotten to remember that they were gone. instead, i let myself be reminded that my first double-desire had become my first double-grief. i could not resist thinking that no man would ever be able to come behind me again and expand those two towers, twin the twins, make me want him like that. a better man would never have the opportunity.
it was then i realized i was still walking home with aaron. our walk had reminded me of the first love, which in turn reminded me of the empty sky. two other men, two other buildings.
the destruction of those buildings appeared to me now as only a bookend for a section of time between violent strikes, violence first somewhere else, then in lower manhattan, then elsewhere again. the elsewhere again had not happened yet, and yet i could clearly taste it in the air, outlines as perceivable in the future as WTC 1 and 2 were at that moment in the sky. and there was no escape from the future, as from its twin attack in the past: it was as if time simply ran like a simple pendulum, one direction and its opposite, and always proceeding forward. the future destruction was certain, and my inebriation made me susceptible to an edging of sadness around this happy night.
yet even happiness was part of the twinning of time: there could be no double-grief without the double-desire, and a future desire was in front of me.
it grabbed my shoulder, sharply. "hey. we're here." it was a command. he turned to face me again, in front of his stoop, and looked in my eyes. he began an intimate gaze that most people only apply in the confines of their own home. yet he appeared unconcerned that we were still on the village sidewalk, outside his building. his head slowly angled again, his mouth open a crack, his face relaxed except for the intensity of his eyes, which searched my face. he looked powerful like this, as if he could read what had transpired in my head, as if he wanted to quit talking and simply communicate by looking inside one another. and yet appeared capable of snapping out of his trancelike concentration in a heartbeat. "where did you go just now?"
he'd been quiet for several blocks of my reverie, and i was aroused by him revealing his respect for my need to think. yet his anticipation of my steps throughout the evening was beginning to have an effect on me. i shivered and tried to speak.
"i was thinking about something" i swallowed "that happened to me on a night like this."
"with a guy" he said. certain.
"yeah." i looked down at his stomach. "a memory, triggered by the walk. the kisses." my thought trailed off into the sadness my drunkeness was letting me have.
he turned his head more, and tried to meet my lowered eyes. he smiled a little, and drew very close. the night air felt cool on my back as our fronts, now together, closed out other weather. "whatever happened with you and he, it's not going to happen again." i looked up. he put his face so close that his lips brushed mine when he spoke. "we may have taken the same walk, but you met him long ago. you're with me now."
he kissed my lips, firmly, and then drew away, taking my hand, and led me up the stoop. as he got his key into the door, the light above silhouetted his wide back, and illuminated tufts of white hair on his ears. i licked the back of his neck as he said, to the door, "things don't always happen twice."
it feels so good because i used to do this all the time:
find myself on a deserted island of practice fields, at the margins of baseball diamonds where european field sports are yet again left to fend for themselves, a situation which in turn fosters the sense that this is something worth doing, because the team is forced to make a space for itself.
be driven to and from practice by people ten to fifteen years my elder. sit in the back seat of a car with dried mud on my shoes, and while trying not to make too much of a mess, looking out the window at what my life will be like in the next few hours, traveling on an adrenaline high way.
yet again feel a little foolish believing i'd be a failure against the other players, because yet again surprised that i'm hardier, sturdier, and more agile than i thought.
feel a camaraderie from people who are very different from me, in size, shape, age, and background, but who all share a desire to play together well.
random scrapes and bruises.
feel like i have friends on other teams who are wonderful well-wishers.
discover those hours after a long practice where i've not thought about a goddamned thing except making my body do what it needed to do, so that the team would perform well come game time: no war, no computer screen, no phone, no other time.
(of course, now i can do internet search merchandise fetish, and satisfy those desires with my credit card number. and i learned for the first time how to tackle someone. and this time, the homoerotic qualities of a unisex team sport are not latent: they are the primary draw. you may begin your objectification of me as a player.)
oh. i like to punt and tackle. look out.
that offering comes and goes. at the moment it has arrived. it had withdrawn for an entire season, which really means a year. i'm uncertain if this year was forced upon me, or if i did it willfully, a habit of being that had formed after the several months of being withdrawn against my will.
last summer, there had been a shift in my friend's outlook.
we sense these shifts in others all the time, see them in the corner of our eyes, but we also bury the knowledge of them under the events of living: buying tickets, arranging dinner, calling to hear a voice you love, helping each other shave. instinctively, we transmute the not-knowing into the sensation of a change in the air, like the first day of spring. or in this case, the first day of winter. or was it spring, transmuted into winter?
perhaps the fact that we perceive someone changing, but do not acknowledge it, triggers a fear mechanism, an old animal reaction deep in our chemical stew that knows danger is ahead. emotional danger. the instinct causes us to avoid and hide. hide behind the mechanisms of the day.
or the night. like at the end of a dream, but before opening one's eyes, where an indistinct transition occurs, a messy and loud crescendo, where one believes the world you are awakening to is as malleable as the dream you are leaving. and even while dreaming you did not acknowledge you were really behind everything, just as you will not admit, or even know, that you really believer you are somehow behind the world, the city, the people, and the objects those people employ: telephones, computers, and cameras, all connected by a massive network for talk. during this wakening, or violent gray slide into consciousness, one has an unshakeable believe that a situation can be shaped through thought.
and so, at first, i noticed the change in my friend, but did not admit to noticing it. it's a common mistake, really, to not admit noticing, and believe, subconsciously, that it will go away if not directly looked at.
but, that previous winter, or fall, i had come under attack: someone else had said some directly wrong shit about me, about how i love and who i am. i had been shocked by the naked rudeness of a stranger telling me things he had no business talking about, and yet hurting me so directly. i was helpless for a few minutes. but i then realized i had to fight for this, the definition of my self, the right to have the final say on who i wanted to be before people perceived me, and so i put myself in more danger to defend what was mine. i told him to go to hell, and that i hated his guts. i paraphrase.
so that experience had awakened me a little to the need to look at peripheral images directly, and examine them. call them out, if necessary, and certainly give them words.
and so, when my friend's mood shifted, i could clearly see it. he despised me. he would never let me touch him again. he would never want to come to my parties, participate in our spirited debates on writing, or talk about good art. and that is when i glanced inside, furrowed my brow, told him i was going to leave, and bid him a soft goodnight.
i was standing in the subway doors. the train was in a tunnel, rendering the windows a streaky black. i stretched my neck to the side so i could see myself better in my reflection in the opposite doors.
i could actually see the reflection, without straining my eyes. and so i searched it. i know they're there, but cannot find them in the droppled light, the graffiti-marred window with its overlapping patterns of mottled dirt. they feel like they're not there at all, so heavy were my previous pair. that, and my field of vision is greater because the lenses are larger.
for the first time since i was ten, my prescription has changed. i thought i needed reading glasses, that my constant hours twelve to sixteen inches away from a monitor were finally catching up to me. turns out i had the opposite problem: i am becoming increasingly nearsighted.
the optometrist gave me an eye exam that felt like it was out of the next generation: there were prisms, vertical beams of light scanning each retina, a yellow liquid in each eye so that the blue beam of light would uncover anomalies in the eye fluid. as well, there were breathless technical explanations fraught with the weight of survival. (i suppose in these pre-war days, almost ANY explanation is fashionably delivered fraught with the weight of survival).
but we all know SPACE AIN'T MAN'S FINAL FRONTIER.
and so the test was today, when i received the new lovelies, my preciouses, clear and large and cute. and new. i could feel the muscles around my eyes relax the moment i put them on, and discover that for the last two years i'd not been looking up, or down, or left and right as much as i could have been. i had not been one with my view. i'd been looking at the frames.
i stretched my neck a little more, seeing myself perfectly this time, thinking that i like the way i look when i stretch my neck, and how it feels good after a long day, like an offering.
last night after dinner.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.