Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ragamuffin Gospel

Did you ever have one of those books that for years everyone references? You just have it in your consciousness to the point you begin to believe you've actually read it. For me that would be the Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning. Well, I have to admit, I've never did read it and now I am. I understand.
Here is a prayer of rabbi, Joshua Abraham Heschel:
"Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of Your universe. Delight me to see how Your Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His, to the Father through the features of people's faces. Each day enrapture me with Your marvelous things without number. I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all."

Idyllwild

Snow in Idyllwild. Apparently the snowplow guy didn't see my cabin. My driveway is right behind that pile. Lots of snow so far this winter, 4' and counting. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shift

"untitled" acrylic, wax on paper
24"x32", 2008

I was asked to post some of the statements I made about my current work: the work that is represented in the Shift exhibition.

Shift
v.
To move to a different position, or be moved to a different position.
n.
A change in the position of a spectral line representing a change in frequency. 

This work is intended to invite and/or provoke a visual shift. The shift can be phenomenal, metaphoric, and/or allegoric. These works are to be joyous objects of contemplation: a bit clumsy, a bit gosh, but unapologetically optic.

I have been considering:
Biological systems
String theory
Profundity
Incarnational theology 
Fractals 
Semaphore signaling
Joy 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shift - new work in Portland area


I'm just finishing up the last of the works for this show. It is at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon (just outside Portland.) It opens Nov. 25th. Strange works, clumsy works but unapologetically optic works. I'll explain more later (I'm teaching a studio class right now and no one wants to be disturbed so I had to do something productive.) If your in the Portland area please stop on by, I'll be there the night of the opening. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

society of interested persons


This Sat. night at 6:00 the one year anniversary of The Society of Interested Persons Bi-monthly Salon. It will be held at "The Boat Yard" in Seal Beach. It's located at 700 Marina Dr. just off PCH. Live music, live poetry, two art studios and more. I'll be showing a chunk of the work that I will be showing in a solo show in Portland at the end of this month. This is going to be the event of the year! Well, almost. Anyway come on by!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

sending signals

When I was twelve years old I learned semaphore signal flags. This was something my father thought was important. Semaphore is a abstract visual (flag) symbol system used to share pertinent information from sender to receiver. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Sending signals. 


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jim Morphesis, skull study

Las gentes cruzan el mundo en la actualidad sin apenas recordar que poseen un cuerpo y en el la yida- really roughly translated- People cross the world in actuality, reality, barely able to recall that they posses a body and in that body, life. I came across this posting in the site of a good friend, Elenor Greer

So appropriate. Last night I went to a lecture of LA artist Jim Morphesis. I first met Jim in the mid eighties when he was a visiting professor at Claremont Graduate University. I studied with him for a year. He had a profound impact on my practice. At the time he was one of a small group of artists, including David Amico and Merion Estes, that were revitalizing painting in the 80's Los Angeles art scene. It was a time of "cool", "slick" and "reserve". It was one of the times of the "death of painting" and Jim Morphesis had dug up the bones and he was making them dance. And they still do.
Last night I was struck again by physicality of Jim's work. Of the urgency of it, by the sensuality of the surfaces, the marks. He demands that you recognize the body; the body of the painting and as that body demands its recognition you are acutely aware of your own body. The works scrape along, scratch along, slip and lick along.
They are wet from secretions both of pleasure and waste. They work like a Baudelaire poem, "... I remember! I saw everything - flower, spring, furrow- swoon under its eye, throbbing like a heart ... smell of the tomb in the swirling dark, and my timid foot bruising, at the edge of the swamp..." 
So stinking romantic, and yet so very tasty. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


what the hell (or heavens) are you lookin at this for? Go Vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jim Morphesis at Biola

study of meat, J. Morphesis


Dramatic, compelling, powerful and passionate; these are words often used to describe the work of Los Angeles artist Jim Morphesis. Morphesis made his reputation from his intense paintings of the male torso, derived from the image of the crucifixion, an omnipresent element in his art to this day. The artist was raised Greek Orthodox and often attended church with his grandmother. 
His work can be seen in numerous museum collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.*

Works on paper, studies and major works including pieces from his "meat" series are on display at Biola University Art Gallery thru Nov. 20th. 

Jim will be lecturing on his work, at the Biola on Wednesday, Nov. 5th @ 7:00pm. Contact the Art Dept.
(562)903.4807 for location.


*info from Kennebeck Fine Art

Sunday, November 2, 2008

creativity and embarrassment

performance, J.U.

Every creative act involves a leap into the void. The leap has to occur at the right moment and yet the time for the leap is never prescribed. In the midst of a leap, there are no guarantees. To leap can often cause acute embarrassment. Embarrassment is a partner in the creative act - a key collaborator. If your work does not sufficiently embarrass you, then very likely no one will be touched by it. 
Anne Bogart, A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Songs of Ascension


Songs of Ascension is the most recent work of Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton. It is currently being preformed at the REDCAT, Disney/Calarts Theater in Los Angeles. I took my painting class to see Thursday nights performance. I was not prepared for what happened.
When the approximately 90min. program ended and the performance group cleared the sparse stage several of us sat speechless, in fact, breathless. Thoughts of anticipation, utterance, the liturgical, and dare I even say, the sublime. One of the students said that her body understood what had happened the last 90 mins. but the language had not yet arrived. 
As we drove back to the university we drifted back and forth between animated talk of "already / not yet" and a grinning silence. After I dropped everyone off at school and was driving home I found myself driving in silence and listening to the sound of my breathing. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yearnings in matter

The yearning to know What cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and taste the Unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man.    A.W.Tozer


Painting, according to Jean-Luc Marion, is a central topic of concern for philosophy, particularly phenomenology. For the question of painting is a privileged case of the phenomenon; the painting becomes an index for investigating the conditions of appearance - or what Marion describes as "phenomenality" in general.

What matters about matter?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Estes showing at Biola University

Merion EstesStrange Fruit

LA painter Merion Estes will be showing recent work at Biola University.
 Opening reception is Tuesday, Sept. 23, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Estes will be lecturing on her work and her thirty-five year career in the LA art community on 
Tuesday, Oct 7th, 7-8:00pm
All events are open to the public, for details call the Biola University Art Department 562.903.4807


Saturday, September 13, 2008

out walking


I just started reading John Leax's, Out Walking, reflections on our place in the natural world. Leax is the poet-in-residence at Houghton College. I have been a fan of his for quite awhile. I have always appreciated his quite but purposed approach to issues of artistic craft, practice, and the role of an artist in community. Out Walking is a series of reflections on the relationship of humans to the places we occupy. Leax consistently moves from the personal to the public, from the specific to the universal. He is a storyteller at heart and by these potent little stories he challenges us to shape or reshape our ways of thinking and ways of doing. 

"The fate of all creatures now depends on humanity's willingness to restrain itself, to commit itself to maintain places where humans pass through. 
Consider an analogy. As part of the marriage ceremony, a couple promises, before God and gathered witnesses, to be faithful to each other until separated by death. This promise is not demanded by sentiment; it is demanded because everyone present at the marriage know the truth of human nature. Both bride and groom will change. Ambitions, new dreams, other bodies will attract them. Their only hope for success will be the reach of their vow.
We must marry the earth. We must promise to cherish and serve it )love it as ourselves) until death releases us from our responsibility. Our lives will change. We will be tempted. Apart from such a marriage, a commitment to limit our use of the earth before we know or imagine all possible uses, the earth and all of us on it are lost, for that commitment is our only just expression of hope." - John Leax

Friday, September 5, 2008

Short Memories



On Wednesday evening when the Republican nominee for Vice President, Sarah Palin, proudly and boldly proclaimed, "Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines... build more nuclear plants ... create jobs with clean coal ..." I was reminded what a ferocious and bloated appetite we Americans have and what short memories. We have been poor keepers of the garden. 

Friday, August 1, 2008

Creativity, surfing and Steve Roden

Steve Roden @ Susanne Vielmetter

Yesterday morning I was sitting in the Pacific Ocean with one of my sons, Ryan, and our good friend Earl. We were enjoying an overhead, fairly aggressive south swell. Sunrise surfing does a soul good (please don't do it, there are all ready enough people in the water.) 
Ryan and I got talking about creativity; creativity as gift, as play. Creativity and faith, creativity and fear, creativity and systems. Creativity and Steve Roden's paintings.

Having a serious conversation while surfing is an interesting activity. In part because the conversation is paced (interrupted) by the rhythm of the waves. You might be at the most poignant moment or simply mid-sentence and a wave comes. It is well accepted in surf conversation etiquette to simply say, "hold that thought" and then drop, paddle and ride only to paddle back moments later (or quite some time later) and say, "ok, you were saying?" This can make for a rather fragmented narrative but it also makes for a highly punctuated narrative. Because each time we stop talking (or listening) we paddle into a swelling, moving mass of liquid that is being hurdled at the shore by systems that we have no control over. And that regardless of all our abilities to track, predict and explain what is occurring each morning, we realize that every wave is a unique, unaccounted for event that one simply receives and celebrates. It is a gift from the universe and the Creator that is there and we can ignore it or receive it and dance on it.

So the conversation on creativity went something like this (well, kind of ... well actually this is a highly edited edition.)

... the Catholic priest and philosopher/activist, Henri Nouwen says, "Does not all creativity ask for a certain encounter with our loneliness, and does not the fear of this encounter severely limit our possible self-expression?" As was shared with me the other day, "fear has nothing for us, it offers nothing and demands much." Nouwen encourages the movement from fearful clinging to the fearless play.

A wave and Ryan disappears, I watch from the back and see his head and shoulders slip across the horizon. He paddles back, we acknowledge the gift that was just sent and continue our conversation. 

... that reminds me of what Annie Dillard said, that we should all jump up, strip down to our waists, run outside and shake gourds at one another to WAKE UP! But instead, she says, we will sit on our couch's and watch the whole parade pass us by on the TV. Here's the fear issue again. Instead of playing out the absurdity of the nakedness and the shaking of gourds under the midday sun we would rather have some sense of control and watch someone else live life and we can simply consume it, no risk, no gifts.

Another wave, big and fast. We both go and both pay. We are reminded there is a cost to participate but even that can be a fearful delight, to let go and to be thrown deep and hard only to emerge and appreciate the simple rush of air in one's lungs. We laugh, regroup and continue. 

... I've been reading Rainer Maria Rilke. He talks about a life of creativity and the necessity to do it with intention, "then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it." "Do not now seek answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the pint is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer ... take what ever comes with great trust."

This one comes to me. I go and for twelve seconds the whole world is about this moment. The light, the sound, the feeling under my feet. Move, shift, here it comes, up, now drop, and it's over. Smile and paddle back out. No one to witness it but myself, and the sky.

... Kathleen Norris talks about this in her book, The Cloister Walk, "The Benedictines, more that any other people I know, insist that there is time in each day for prayer, for work, for study, and for play." "Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productivity, willing to wait attentively in stillness rather that always pushing to "get the job done." "Imagination and faith are the same thing, giving substance to our hopes and reality to the unseen." "The substance, the means of art, is incarnation, not reference but phenomena." She then develops these thoughts specifically around the language of poetry, "But the sense of the sacred is very much alive in contemporary poetry; maybe because poetry, like prayer, is a dialogue with the sacred. And poets speak from the margins, those places in the ecosystem where, as any ecologist can tell you, the most life forms are to be found." 
"scholars speak with authority, and they must, as they are trying to convince the audience that they have a worthwhile point of view. On the other hand, poets (artists) speak with no authority but that which the reader (audience) is willing to grant them. Our task is not to convince but to suggest, evoke, explore. And to be a poet (artist), which at its root means "maker," to be a maker of phenomena, speaking without reference to authority but simply because the words (images) are given you."

Oh crap, a rouge set, large and coming quick. We all scramble to get outside. If we weren't talking we would have seen it coming and been ready. It is enough to simply get through it and get outside.

... Well if we are going to talk about Norris we have to talk about Madeline L' Engle. What does she say? "It is gift (creativity), sheer gift, waiting there to be recognized and received." "To paint a picture or to write a story or to compose a song is an incarnational activity, the artist is a servant who is willing to be a birth giver." "Faith is for that which lies on the other side of reason. Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys."
We cannot Name or be Named without language. If our vocabulary dwindles to a few shopworn words (or images) we are setting ourselves up for takeover by a dictator (or a highly militaristic administration.) When language becomes exhausted, our freedom dwindles - we cannot think; we do not recognize danger; injustice strikes us as no more than "the way things are." Language is formed by imagination. If our imagination is so highly mediated for us by pop media, the market place and politics, then our ability to discern, to participate, to discover is limited. Or as William Young reminds us, "Don't confuse adaptation for intention, or seduction for reality." 
"Creativity opens us to revelation, and when our high creativity is lowered to 2% so is our capacity to see ... in the act of creativity, the artist lets go the self control which he normally clings to, and is open to riding the wind. Something almost always happens to startle us during the act of creating (there's the Dillard thing.)
She goes on to say, "You should utter words as though heaven were opened within them and as though you did not put the word into your mouth, but as though you had entered the word."
"We write, we make music, we draw pictures, because we are listening for meaning, feeling for healing. An artist at work is in a condition complete and total faith ... hold that thought! And with that Ryan was gone, pulled toward the beach with a shout and a laugh that was almost as much fun to watch, as it was to do. It took him about 10 minutes to get back, he was caught inside of a large set and I got two while we were separated.

... This reminds me of a story I'm reading by William Young. During an exchange in which freedom and grace are being discussed, one person says to the other, "remember this, humans are not defined by their limitations, but by the intentions that God has for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in God's image."
But what does this look like personified? What does it look like in practice? Maybe a good model of the artist, perhaps, is Howard Nelson's description of the American poet, Robert Bly. He says of Bly, "He seeks a balance, but one that will be open-ended and dynamic; while he is interested in the still pint, what he is more interested in is the motions of the spirit - and the intellect's and the body's motion - around it." Another model might be the work of Steve Roden.

Hey, we got to go. There is a day waiting for us. 
Do you want to go out again tomorrow?
Sure.
Is there going to be a swell?
I heard it was growing, but more of a south/west.
That's funny, I read on Surf Line that it was dropping.
Anyway, let's just go and see what shows up.
 


Slip, Swell, and Tim Hawkinson

I have been doing some archiving and am excited to launch documentation of a few previous shows.
Slip was as a group show that I curated this last May at the Alegria Gallery in Silver Lake at the invitation of Paul Hebblethwaite. 
The Swell exhibition was a 2005/06 show of five LA based artists curated by James Romaine and John Silvis. It opened in New York at the NYCAM center and later showed in LA at Biola University. The five artists were Tim Hawkinson, Patty Wickman, Lynn Aldrich, James Eliane and myself.
Thanks to Kurt Simonson and Jeff Rau for the tech. support. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Franz Wright and John O'Donohue

a new arrival, 1 from a litter of 10

Just listened to a very compelling podcast from Speaking of Faith. Irish poet and philosopher, John O'Donohue speaking on beauty and friendship. While talking of beauty, and specifically poetry, he says, "That's the mystery of poetry. That poetry tries to draw alongside the mystery as its emerging and to somehow bring it into presence." He later says, " It's strange to be here (to be alive), the mystery never leaves you." 
Give it a listen. I think you'll like it. 


From a collection of Franz Wright's poems, God's Silence

5. God Here

The uninterruptible
voice, the
silence I now call
my only 
friend

Who says

right about now you might want to stop playing
mad chemist with your brain: return to Me

and I will return


The Fire

Listen, I've light
in my eyes
and on my skin
the warmth of a star, so strange
is this
that I
can barely comprehend it:
I think
I'll lift my face to it, and then
I lift my face,
and don't even know how
this is done. And
everything alive
(and everything's
alive)
is turning
into something else
as at the heart
of some annihilating 
or is it creating
fire
that's burning, unseeably, always
burning at such speeds
as eyes cannot
detect, just try
to observe your own face
growing old
in the mirror, or
is it beginning 
to be born?


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Painting's Edge and Poetry

Fred Tomaselli

As the dust settles and I get a chance to reflect on the last couple of weeks I'm amazed by all that has happened in the little mountain community where I have been working this summer. During the last month I have had the good fortune to take part in Painting's Edge and Summer Poetry both held in the town of Idyllwild, CA.

Painting's Edge is a two-week painting residency program that is the brian child of LA artist, Roland Riess. Over the last six or seven years Riess has brought together many of the most significant voices in the practice of painting. Voices that have defined the practice for the last forty years and voices that are redefining it as I write. Curators and critics like Robert Storr, David Hickey, and Peter Plagens to name a few. Practitioners such as Pia Fries, Terry Winters, Pat Steir, Mark Bradford, Tom Nozkowski, and Matthew Richie are featured each year. 


The Summer Poetry program has a similar history. The week long residency for poets celebrated its tenth year this summer. This years roaster of visiting poets included the two-time United States Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser. Along with Ted were Eloise Klein Healy, BH Fairchild, David St. John, and my two personal favorites, Terrance Hayes and Cecilia Woloch.

Both programs offer evening lectures and readings that are open to the public, as well as open daily discussions. Talk about a feast for a hungry soul (and imagination.)

As I was going back through my notes from Painting's Edge I found a fragmented and curious trail of captured thoughts as I scrambled to record each lecture. I have to wonder why certain things resonated enough to record them; maybe it related to something I was thinking about that day, it was funning, the audience shifted in response to the statement. Anyway, here is a sampling of but a few. These notes in no way give testimony to how articulate the artist was, they represent my inarticulate listening. 

Fred Tomaselli - "as a young artist I felt burdened by the history of painting so I made escapist installations that commented on their own escape." "I wanted to use drugs in a different way." "My work got better when I let myself in." "My formative years came from hippy years burned into disco and cocaine." "There is always a ting of pathology in the work."

Peter Plagens - "the practice of painting is like the Spanish Empire. It's not the most important country any more but its still a great place to be from." "The newer forms of art making just translate better into media hype." And my favorite, "The contemporary art scene consists of well dressed anarchists shopping at the Apple store."

Beatriz Milhazes - you don't write things down, you just look. 

Wendell Gladstone - see Beatriz Milhazes

Leslie Shows - the real surprise of the residency. She is a killer painter. "Civilization is heartbreaking and fun at the same time." "I like the quality of gritty, muddy, disappointing landscapes - stripped to the basics."

Mark Bradford - "I wanted to paint but I didn't want to use paint."  "... using the materials that were at hand, that were embedded in my social fabric, my lived context."

Laurie Fendrich - "I really like the four edges of a painting." sometimes it really is just that simple. 

Pat Steir - listening to Pat was like listening to a living history. It was an amazing experience. I was reminded of a James Moody interview I had recently heard. Like the jazz great, Moody, Steir was a little verbally choppy at times, a little defensive, a little impatient talking about her work (it was clear they both would prefer to be making the work.) "If it's true, you will just get it. If it's not then no matter what you say, it doesn't work."

The things she said couldn't have been said by a younger artist or if they were said I wouldn't have trusted them. "Close your eyes and let go." "It's like the Zen practice, throw 3 stones into the air and walk away." "When your intention has no doubt, it is easier." "I take any chance I want to." "I'm not trying to be anything outside of my self." "If there is something true or real there will be someone who will connect with it. Trust that." "Your face changes every ten years so why shouldn't the face of your practice change?"











Wednesday, July 23, 2008

new work and Laurie Fendrich

This showed up on my studio wall.

New York painter, Laurie Fendrich
"What do I ask of a Painting?"
1) hold my eye
2) give me something more then a second
3) parts that add up to a significant whole
4) parts that stand on their own
5) surface
6) something that I can return to
7) visual surprise

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Au Sable Institute


I just returned from five days in the forests of upstate Michigan at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. Au Sable is a residential field study program for under graduate and graduate students studying field biology, environmental studies and earth care. They do this around the world: in the Great Lakes forest of northern Michigan, the Puget Sound in the Pacific North west, the Everglades in south Florida, the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, and in the lowlands and mountains of South India. 

Dr. John Wood, a stream biologist, urban environmentalist and interdisciplinary scholar, invited me to present to their Academic Council. The Council consists of biologists, geologists, and chemists that are affiliated with universities a and colleges around the United States and Canada. After some thirty years of specializing in biology based environmental studies they are exploring interdisciplinary relationships starting with the visual arts.

I was invited to present my work and to talk about contemporary visual artists that are working with issues that pertain to environmental stewardship, either directly or indirectly. We looked at the work of Fred Tomasellis, Terry Winters, Leslie Shows, Kim Stringfellow, Janine Haard, Joel Sternfeld to name a few, and of course, Andy Goldsworthy. I also talked about the historical development of Western concepts of nature, landscape and the human occupation. We looked at the relationship of the prevailing narratives of science, religion, commerce and the arts and how they work to define our idea of landscape.

Art Making. After the slide lecture and discussion I sent the scientists out into the landscape with a visual assignment. I assigned two words to the group and asked them to photograph the landscape in response to these words: Sacred and Profane. In the process of defining these words we talked about Emile Durkheim's definition of the Sacred and the Profane. We contrasted this definition to the way that Christ casts these words in the New Testament Gospel texts. 
The group had two hours to photograph. They returned and I had two hours to sort through their images, select and arrange them, put them together with Yo-Yo Ma's Appalachia Waltz. It was a simple exercise but rich in its implications. In it we have the visual insights of those who are deeply invested in the landscape. The result was a potent reminder of Annie Dillard's the lover and the knower

The results of the time spent with this community of scientists proved to be rich and deeply rewarding. It appears to have amazing potential. We will be offering a visual arts course next May at the Puget Sound site. 

Joy Williams

from Joy Willians, Literature Unnatured

We use language to conceal, distort, and subvert the reality of many things, a great many things, and flattened terms like environment and biodiversity are words thrust in an ever reductive context of cant. They're words that have lost their juice, their power. Once Nature became Environment she became semantically much diminished, as befitted her humbled station. The grandeur was gone. It became just a matter of politics. The environment became society, was society. It could be friendly or controlled, hostile or unstable, but it was primarily anthropocentric and generously relative in its applicability. Like our state forests, those lands of many uses, many not so ecologically benign - Environment, as a concept, is utilitarian. There's the home environment, of course, the workplace, the school. There's the environment of Wall Street and the CIA. Natural becomes one prefix among many. An environment that's "natural" has already sidled away from Nature some. It has come to mean, sort of, not the same thing. It's something to locate between the tennis courts and the condos. Something that hasn't been drilled or mined or dammed yet, but exists, rather, in the wondrous state of pre-becoming - drilled or mined or dammed. It's already in the state of pre-becoming - drilled or mined or dammed. It's already on the grid, the graph, but isn't being used ... for now.

When exactly did Nature become Environment? It's a matter of style, of course, as well as diminished expectation. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Witness


"To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist."
Cardinal Suhard

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Job


Robert Alderette

The Job

Imagine that
the job were
so delicate
that you could
seldom - almost
never - remember
it. Impossible
work, really.
Like placing 
pebbles exactly
where they were
already. The
steadiness it
takes ... and
to what end?
It's so easy
to forget again.
Kay Ryan, Say Uncle

Friday, June 20, 2008

Looking Around

my granddaughter


Looking, Walking, Being
"The world is not something to 
  look at, it is something to be in."
I look and look.
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.
The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal. clamor.
World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.
And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
That's
a way of breathing,
Breathing to sustain
looking,
walking and looking 
through the world,
in it.
Denise Levertov