Pedestrians run. The enemy is all around. I stare at the ground through the slit between my scarf and hat; an inch eye elevated to see where I’m going would widen a crevice and I’d be caught at the throat down the coat cold eviscerated. I could be hit by a truck and not notice, or care, if the ambulance is warm (and I know hell is, with open arms). Ice grows on the insides of my windows, see through fecking cold, winter’s breath freezing. Patient for the thaw, I can’t wait to remember you.
Early January Bree and I visited Colin in Kentucky. I ate grits for the first time and reveled in Southern accents, visited Colonel Sanders’ grave, gambled on a riverboat casino in Indiana, and attended a sold-out opening night showing of Brokeback Mountain in Louisville. Still without a real camera at the time, all my pictures are trapped in my head and my cell phone, containing less Kentucky than Chicagoland I-beam bridges and aerial transmission tangles (the picture of me taking a cell shot of the Colonel bust linked above is care of Bree). Indiana is a riot slash can rot. Strange how as the anti-choice billboards, Jesus is Lord semitruck signage and crapped-out roadside crosses increase so do the porn shacks, casinos and firework emporiums. Bree and I decided the ultimate highway enterprise would be hookers who light up and gush nickels then explode. And if’n y’all get hungry after that, youse can set yerselfs down at a Waffle Steak!!
Listening to Moby. Not lately, just now.
I did get a new camera but just got the memory card today and haven’t been able to play with it yet. But soon! no more will d6 visitors have to stare at my stove. In other imag(in)e news, I’m taking a printmaking class at the U, which is free for me as a full-time employee. It is so much fun to have a teacher, and a TA, and classmates who give me that oh-my-god-you’re-in-the-real-world look I used to give the elders myself when I was an undergrad. A few are hotshit slick but most are just moody, bouncy kids with neat ways of making things.
I love it. I ask lots of questions about registration and trap; the freshman gape and the graphic designers nod gravely. I mix paints with a palette knife and use a power sprayer and Photoshop and most of my weekend hours printing or thinking about printing and how I can make art happen, and none of it is trying too hard or feeling too bad, though my razor clean precision, a nifty way of saying anal-retentive perfectionism, comes through with a critical eye. At the same time, there’s no pressure. I just enjoy it. Not because I should enjoy it—because my grade is irrelevant and I’m not paying for it. I enjoy it because it’s enjoyable. Both process and product give me pleasure. My first screenprint was a dead bird made with blockout through reduction; the next project is a photomechanical piece with a zombie (Ken from the pub crawl, to be exact). Check the mockup. Sorry it’s a big file, it was acting dumb. It’ll be about 12″x23″ with a prettier red. Hard to say how precise I’ll get it to lookin’ like that, but it should be close.
After screenprinting is a section in lithography, where my lack of drawing skillz shall undo me. But I’m not worried. Faking it—improvising, stylizing, shrugging and throwing down scared lines with a fierce yer goddamned right this is my best, all my patience, all my heart—is also doing. I could fall asleep in a writing class, but I could never play and mean it. I could never say “so what.” Too serious to let’s see what happens. Let’s learn from it. Set it afire and run from it, or with it, or through it, live by it or let it destroy. My Moby music folder is a mash of time-loss ambience and barely tolerable club mix trash. Life is like the box of chocolates no one sends, ha ha ha ha ha stepping off the curb into screeching tires. WATCH WHERE THAT YOU ARE GOING! Look at where you are right now.
The older I get, the more patterns I see. The more people I meet who I’ve met before. The more time I spend writing letters I don’t send or to people I’ve never seen. Came home at 2 a.m. last week from a night of dancing and free cotton candy, sticky sweet mouths telling me I can really move, don’t stop, I want to watch you. I want to learn. A girl in baggy bondage pants and a boy with messed up teeth, smiles that would be sneers were the eyes not sincere. I like your shirt. I like your feet. I like this DJ. I like this city. But don’t stop—keep moving.
I got home in heart-stopping cold people on the street bundled inhuman with crying fingers, toes, have been running through (me too), and someone was parked in my spot, a private lot where I can tow anyone I want. I parked down the block, sweat froze furious, and instead of calling a wrecker, spewed my congested lungs on the driver-side window of the trespasser, a sick patch of instant ice hate you. I didn’t think I’d ever tell anyone. Moment of rage, child act stupid, not irrational but not likely, not becoming, not me. But what does that mean. “Not me.” Oh really. I will never tell anyone, ever, how much I’m not hurting.