is this how these things begin?
i had to ask. i simply do not know.
because i was comfortable putting such a direct demonstration of my ignorance into words, i suppose the asking anticipated the answer. the question was always already answered. and so one might suppose that i knew what he would say:
"yes, chad, this is how these things begin."
(notes from a sheet of paper i've been writing on for about ten years.)
dreams gathered together here
held together by my ballcap and the weather
like the rain drenching my flower petals
hair clung together
with this weather,
we can be anything.
together we can be anything.
here we can be anything together.
we can be together here.
when was the last time we saw each other in bed?
where did we sleep?
think about it: you've already entered by body.
finding your body is usually the best part.
me seeing myself
like a freeze
its crystalline power my only politics
like the dark
covering the rats in a garden,
can't rest here, but must rest
uncornfortable in my own skin
like matta-clark was
misspelled inside-out eyelids
when did we last choose together?
when were we last seen close?
think about it, because there's never a day when i don't think about it.
there's never a day without shine.
shine and tired
shine and alone
shine and together
shine and sly
sly and tired
sly and weather
sly and naked
naked and silly
naked and electric
naked and tired
tired and alone,
but never alone.
lately i have come to think of myself as an architect who is interested producing highly sculptural work. i am unafraid of my own drawing hand, when its gestures are inextricably married, or cojoined at the head (like twins), to the fact that the sculptural gesture solves a problem. the result is unexpected, but potentially perfect. there's more to say about this, but i will say it another time.
a few days ago i was showing a friend my undergraduate portfolio, and i was struck by how i used to believe differently. i thought that pure organization was sufficient: that a patently boring architecture was enough to be radically transformative of the urban environment. while to a certain extent i still believe this to be true, that view was challenged by the last professor i had at college, the one who was pushing me out of this straightjacket, egging me on at a personal, emotional level, by telling me that even though i probably knew everything, it was not enough. i could add the unknown to my work. what i was doing with boring ink lines was insufficient against work that came from a need for the uncanny. i spent most of my time at columbia deciding what my hand/voice was, even though i had several studio critics who were headcases, proponents of that intricate theoretical architecture that puts me to sleep with its lack of oxygen, denying all of sculptural needs, functional necessities, and brilliantly simple solutions.
and now i design big buildings and public parts of new york city.
so as i turned pages, i could not believe the distance. how did i make this transition, from someone who worked on the surface of representation to someone who had shapes to spare, to guiding urban development by designing better ideas and techniques? there it was, before me: i had at one time been someone who could plot a detailed perspective drawing in a matter of hours, without a computer, in ink, and who did abstractions in the same vein, drawings that represented pure ideas with a network of three-aught ink lines. i flipped a page. the more i talked about each page, the more i had to say. the more they still mean to me.
it is strange to think that i left columbia seeing this early portfolio as an anachronism, as an innocent group of drawings that were high on bravado and low on focus. but that view has been subsumed by the practice of planning, of which i have had some experience the last two years. large urban swaths and large buildings require a big idea to capture the public agency's imagination, yet they rely on diagrams that suggest an urban technique for implementing them. my ability to make a few pen strokes and make visible the radical transformation of the waterfront from the battery to the east river park is something i have practiced since fall semester 1992.
somehow, all those pages are still inside me. but they are only revealed on these archaeolical digs, submerged as they are beneath the street level, the level where the business of my life need bustle.
i was on my knees, in the soft, wet grass. i had taped my fractured middle finger to my ring finger. i had taped my wrists. a teammate had tackled me a couple of times, and i him, to prepare ourselves. i was ready to play, and listening to the warm-up speech.
there was something about our coach, who delights in calculating everything, in a way that is completely productive for us, that was very different during our little speech. after telling us we should have a personal match goal, and not worry about the score, and other important but bland stuff, he said that he was proud of us. i was surprised by this, but more so because his voice quivered, on "proud", which made me feel like i could do this. he believed we were ready.
my Personal Match Goal was to have the first few tackles be very hard. hit to knock the wind out of them. start the game my way, and then play the game my way. let the opponents know that they had to deal with us, not just run around us.
my first tackle of the season was forty-five seconds into play. their number 13, their outside center, had the ball; he was 5'10, 190. the kind that cracks you because they are tall and strong and flexible. he had three men in support: their 11, their 15, their 12. yet he did not pass around me: he was running directly at me with the ball. he thought he was going to run through little ole me.
and so i ran at him, yelling. i grabbed his thighs, put my left foot between his legs (the power step), put my left cheek on his ass cheek, and drove my left shoulder into his solar plexus, with a little extra as a reminder, then he tipped over as i lifted, twisted, and put him below me. every subsequent time he faced me on the field, with three supporters, he would pass the ball away before i would be able to tackle him. lesson learned.
my next two tackles were the same, for different opponents: the 12 and 7. yes, i downed a blind side flanker. their 11 started to get smug by the end of the match, but that's because he never ended up under me with the ball.
i missed three tackles, out of the fourteen i had to perform: i hit eleven out of fourteen. my best record last year was two of five.
of course, they were loading the line, quite adeptly, often on the weak side, and so it was very difficult to shut them down. our forwards were getting sucked into rucks and mauls, and they were hardly putting anyone in there, instead choosing to add to their back line. our backs played a lot of defense.
we lost, and by a lot, which isn't surprising: the team is fresh from division two. yet their only real advantage was that they'd played together for years and years, and had a better sense of their own game: sliding in a second from one side of the ruck to another, and knowing when to take the weak side. yet it wasn't difficult to find their weaknesses, and to see that they weren't more individually skilled that we. the times when we played our game, when we had possession (a little under half of the game), they would start to lose it, drop balls, miss tackles, yell at themselves. there's nothing more satisfying than knowing you are fucking with them, even when they're ahead by a lot. this alone kept my head in the game, kept me from at all worrying about score or team weaknesses. in one or two years, or even at the end of this season, we will be really freaking them out.
no points on the board: i don't even think about it. i had so much fun because i was playing with a squad that for the first time had practiced together, and was playing together. we knew each other, as athletes. we were working together. not perfectly working, yet, but functioning well from all the skills we have been given by our coach. i always knew where my fellow backs were (some of which are co-members of our elite under-140 pound club), without hearing them call out. pitch telepathy.
i had a lot of bald fun. yes, it was exhilarating, but it was also my time on the pitch, my one true recreation these days. once, their number seven paid me back by putting my face, and the ball, toward the ground. of course, he was penalized for keeping me from releasing the ball. he pulled me up, with a look on his face that said ha, i got you too, little man, and of course, i was grinning and laughing because i wasn't hurt after being buried, and i thought it funny that he would try to intimidate me at all. so it turned from joke-on-me to joke-between-us. i wouldn't let them have that one joke, because i didn't want them to think they could frustrate me, so i power stepped into it and we shared. it is just part of the game.
i was also proud because my squad would still give it their all, even when we were behind. there were little lapping waves of discouragement, of course, but never a tide of it. i think everyone felt that these first few matches are learning experiences, because they are against best teams in our division; yet we were still playing to win. we are still solidifying our squad identity, and these games are teaching us what that is. what gotham's Game is. what our game is.
i saw us play in the spring. our coaching staff was in disarray. we barely had a squad who was practiced together. we weren't strong, or fit, or thinking. but we are now, and we're learning each day. when we face the teams from the spring again, we will have ironed out our new-squad kinks, honed our defense, played much more offense. i look forward to a few surprises as the next six weeks progress.
the strange storms of the heart, like summer storms, gray, active, low, violent, thunderous, destructive for their time: they violently come to an end. the air has been chemically altered, by the evaporation and the electricity. it is all rather sudden, and to be honest, as the water drips off the leaves and tow trucks, trickles into the ground, evaporates on the concerete, it is difficult to remember the atmospheric implosions that occurred a few moments ago. the sense of wetness-receding is a specific kind of forgetting, a productive kind. it gives a bewilderingly new life to all these situations around you. bewildering because they were there for you to plainly see before it rained, silly.
your courage is not a problem. indeed, whenever my friend, the captain, tells me this, i laugh at the simplicity of it, how brilliantly it de-remembers the fog caused by my nervousness, my fear at being told the team has larger and faster forwards than ours. it says everyone is bigger than you silly, except the new york japanese team, the question is are you still going to try to tackle them?. of course, the answer is yes, which it also says, knowing that i will still try to take them down, put in that position, no matter what i think ahead of time. your courage is not a problem. it is a symmetrical double loop of forgetting-and-knowing. it laps itself invisibly. this is to say nothing about how i have become better friends with him since de-friending him last month, stopping this close from un-friending him. or perhaps it does, because i so hate to cover different territory. he knows, instinctively, that i distanced myself from him, taking a courageous power step against the heart that can love him, and making the decision to stop the momentum, twist while going down, and end up in possession when i regain my feet.
a friend on the team has a secret blog. i am allowed to write about it, but not link it.
he is thai. he writes in english, and is one of those people who writes poetry by pushing the english language to fit his thoughts. i go to his website every day with the exciting anticipation of reading a new post, even though i see him at least three times a week.
at a lecture by my favorite architect, over a decade ago, i was given an unexpected gift. his effortless bending of structure and materials was matched, equally, by how he translated his catalan thoughts into english. the english he spoke was like no other: he was using the lexicon of a civil engineer with the imagination of a painter (giaccometti). here in a darkened lecture hall, with the luminous images of his work on the wall, was a poet of materiality, someone who was using words to affect materials, something my nascent architectural voice was struggling to articulate. it was the first time i believed that i was not alone in the world.
and so it is with my friend, the secret blogger/rugger. we travel the same subjects, differently, and his language, made precise because of the effortlessly bent words and phrases, is something i aspire to.
for the moment, i can share this:
After Rugby practicing, I went to meet up Mario, my friend who needed to crash at my place, at the volleyball gym. I met a HOT guy there named Ferrencio. He is a hottie living in DC and works for Italian Embassy. My heart was stop for a little bit seeing him. HOT HOT HOT. I wanna do him, I thought. But it was just a dream and only dry dream not even close to a wet one.
It comes to a conclusion that I am attracted to an older, hot, hunky, sexy and athletic kind of guy. Ferrencio can be one of the examples. I do feel frustration when I face this type of guy. My winky heart is shaking. I hate myself that I cannot do anything about it. Either they already have their own lovers, or arenít they interested in me. What a pathetic I am.
Whatís wrong with liking somebody attractive?
and this, from today, if you'll read on:
September here is kind of nice too but it indicates the end of summer. Lots of people hate it. They love summer. The end of summer arrive. That's suck. I can understand that. I grew up from the tropical temperature. Hot and humid is everywhere. Nothing is ao special about. I kind of hate it, though. I like a little chill of the fall or spring here. Thatís more of the kinky weather for me like having a medium fresh air-conditioned room and have sex.
Raining in September here can be annoying. I donít like getting soak or wet when I grew up. I can feel some annoying rain; not so hard and not completely stop, "indecisive rain." What a hell is that? I cannot imagine myself live in Seattle or London where my friends told me its rain all the time. I like the clear of the sky wherever I live. YeahÖwho likes cloudy? At some mood, though, I like this annoying rain. Itís a little romantic and it's no need of an umbrella. Walking under the rain can be chilled too. I can feel a goose bum in my heart. And it can be very depressed when I walk alone thinking of someone.
I also have a secret formula of my own. I am always curious about putting all these components together: September, Moon, Rain and Love. That would be a nice scene for the movie. I fell chill imagining of someone walking on the tree line streets of the brownstone blocks in that formula. I think it can be very sexy and sweet.
It is September now. I donít think, lately, we here have such a good impression of it. Two years ago, it was a September 11th. The tragic date in September where is repeated all over again and again. I hate hearing it, but I cannot ignore it. Nothing I can do about. That was one of the miserable moment I ever had in my entire life in September. I just wish the rain keeps coming and washes this dreadful memory away. It is probably not. I just wish at one point we realize it, accept it and move on. It is certainly not.
It is still raining outside. I only know it is washing my secret hope. The hope of seeing the September, the moon and the love all blended into one. My hope is indeed washed away and left me walking alone, not even close to that tree line and brownstone block. But I laugh at this time.
note to self: don't forget so much!
i go on trips to meditate on the state of my life. i come back more confused than ever: the new locale, and distance from my own home, do not give me perspective or inspire lofty thoughts. they give me something else to distract myself with besides the internet.
different storms, different frictions, different ocean waves. i visit places to watch the light of the sky change color.
she had dealt some good cards. devil as hope/fear. a page as the true me. some scales somewhere, to talk about the difference between making myself content and making myself happy. two of cups as outcome. hermit as the situation. we were talking about love. shane laughed. she was dead on about everything, even though her task wasn't to tell my fortune, but to council me on this particular theme. love, i said.
i don't give a rat's ass about astrology, aromatherapy, or the tarot. numerology, the jury's still out on. but i deeply respect that some people do believe in these things, and it needs to be said that i occasionally find them useful. a particular animal, written in stars, may be an apt way to describe my inclinations, especially around my birthday. certain scents appeal to me, and that in turn relaxes or excites me. cards can be placed in a way that simply aligns with what i'd been thinking about for a whole summer, but it's still beyond my own power, without a counseling, to ask myself a simple, useful, question.
"if you know what you want, then why are you playing?"
at first i thought she was talking to me, the sceptic me, the one who sits in mass and has a complete religious experience while at the same time not believing in one iota of god, anywhere. she said it with such directness that i thought she was calling me out, as if she had been able to read my muddled mind, cut through the silt, and tell me she was annoyed at my indifference. but she was speaking about my love life, and had conjured a question that i desperately needed to hear. she had mused on the card that signified my self, and my ability to perceive what others do not, and my ability to deceive myself completely.
she did not expect an answer. and shane kept laughing.
i however, did not laugh, even though i smiled good-naturedly, and poked shane in the ribs. i felt a wave of something wash my muddled thoughts away. i'd assumed there would be something hidden in all that murk, but in a painful moment, after the miasma was gone, i realized there was nothing, no magic words, no hidden answers, no desires except to be alone for a little while longer. i didn't know at that moment what i wanted, really, and i did not know why i'm playing. and i could barely parse the difference between what makes me content and what makes me happy. in short, i was knocked on my ass by a stranger who asked a really good question. i can hear jennie laughing from here.
yet it would be wrong (by that i mean unfair to myself) to simply deny that i do indeed know what i want. i forget that i innately know it; to fail to recognize that my ongoing struggle is to articulate that knowledge would be very stupid of me. in many ways i know exactly what i want. i want to sit in silence next to you, reading for long hours, watching the sky and water change colors. i want to take a bath in geranium and lavender. i want to want to cook for you. i want to not have to explain anything, ever, except when we want to hear our voices. i want ours to be incredible and unique and long and constant conversation that inspires literary groups and cabinetry and new kinds of glass. i want well-put-together arms and legs and core. i want you to know what to do with me. i want to have incredible sex for years and years, effortless extension of the conversation and literature and cabinets and glass.
i sometimes forget that my muddled mind is not because i am unable to express what i want: rather, it is that i am a somewhat disappointed because what i want hasn't miraculously appeared in lower manhattan. and i'll never deny the second part: i'm playing because it's damned fun.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.