Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Secret Messages

Hand of Buddha in Mudra Abhaya, 
between 17th and 18th century, copper alloy, Thai, 
in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Dear Many,

I send you your song for today.  This is a beautiful piece of music; the kind that seems to be beyond words.  Maybe you will want to play it, while you read on.  Or, maybe you are in a hurry, and you will not stop for song or story; I hold my hand up to you in a mudra that signifies you go on with my encouragement and well-wishes.

I have been thinking of words and in words a lot, even though you haven't heard from me lately.  The thing you must remember is that I think of you at least once a day, but I don't always compose myself and address you.  I ask myself why not; and the answer is sometimes this:  I don't have anything good enough to give right now; it's just fog and murk and low-level complaining.  Or this:  I cannot pretend that I believe things are okay, and that isn't a nice rumor to spread. 

I dreamed that I stopped staying at a particular hotel, because every time I stayed there, in its beautiful old rooms with views, I was harangued by ghosts- they turned the light on and off all night; they opened and shut doors; they tried to get into the bed. 

I dreamed that I had a very lovely studio, a huge space, and for some reason, I had hung up three or four large signs in the middle of the wall.  In the course of showing someone my studio, I saw how stupid it was to put these big signs in the middle of the wall; the walls ought to be filled with visual information, with paintings:  I had wasted all these years and this space on three big signs that were just some kind of didactic information that had been on walls in exhibits of my work; they were an explanation, the written validation of the works having been shown; just artifacts and evidence, a shred of paper streamer left after a parade.

Back in the world of thinking again, now, I ask you, if we decide to eschew even more of these absurd values that press down like billowing choking clouds of smoky obligation; if we aren't trying to be good, or right, or smarter, or better, or faster, or richer, just what are we going to be doing with our days?