71) On the summer of 2019

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ef35n-bd9ac4

The summer of 2019 is almost over now and the air, to my immense pleasure, throughout this last week has significantly cooled down…almost unseasonably so…

…Overlooking the sadness or nostalgia we sometimes feel in response to our awareness that life simply happens then ends, and that thus, experiences do not and cannot “happen again” (except within memory, the perception of its audio or visual record)… I enjoy the seasons changing. One aesthetic benefit of living in a “temperate” area as opposed to, say, a tropical one, or a desert, is that you get not just the changes of temperature and weather, but also, the visual changes—leaves turning yellow, brown, orange, red and then falling to the ground, eventually snow and ice, and then a burst of green and other flowery colors! Mental stimulation!

This outlook is relatively new for me…

…in a very panicked fury, I said to my mother: “fuck you!”

Before I proceed I must make emphatically clear my shame and regret about this. Of course, who among us have not said at one point or another to our parents some version of “I hate you!” or “fuck you!”—? Not that this coming of age and rites of passage thing justifies such a traditional adolescent vitriol and angst but I don’t imagine my own gracelessness here that I unfairly subjected my mother to was exceptionally unique or even personal. I imagine even the most polite teenager demonstrates a capacity for critical thought if he or she at some point contradicts his or her parents to his or her parents’ profound dismay. I understand though this always deeply upset my mother….

…My mother should write a book espousing her views on motherhood. It would make the world a better place…

…(On the matter of my connection to my feelings I should like to bring up that individuals occasionally offer in the bodies of their critiques that I may come across as detached from feelings. A few people mentioned to me that I come across to them as “pretentious,”  “condescending” or as though I were hiding, even if only inadvertently, my more “human” layers…

…Contrasting that awful burnout feeling and context with the peace and quiet, especially in Durham, New Hampshire and that surrounding area, which was significantly less built up and less populated than central New Jersey, and how that refreshing vibe was so accentuated by the snow…and not a fierce, blizzardy snow, but a calm, soft kissing kind of snow…

69) The Skyscraper, Not the Cold, Bitter Wind

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-dd77u-bcdf9f

Mark Holland, he owned the hostel where I could no longer afford to lodge; with grace, he insisted I stay.

Mark treated my poems like hundred dollar bills; If I read them to him, and listened to his lectures on music, I could stay, and food was on him…

#55 On moving some place better (part 12: the starving artist phase– South Beach, FL)

The idea of the “starving artist” is one, which during the first part of my time in South Beach, I revered and practically worshiped. It’s one thing to tell you about my “aesthetics” specifically, but quite another to tell you about how I conceptualized what an “artist” is, how I evolved in the sense of identifying myself as an artist, and the story behind that evolution.

This story begins with my father who was a photographer and a painter who possessed extreme (maybe excessive?) fascination with female sexuality, nudity, and pornography, and who exposed me to the imagery of female sexuality before I was even a teenager. It was through my father that I was also exposed to and influenced by the works of Picasso and Van Gogh. As far as my own interests were concerned, by the time I was 9 or 10, I discovered the world of television, movie acting, and John Travolta. In fact, Travolta became my hero and idol. I became a sort of expert on his career and he is one of the earliest direct influences in my attempts to conceptualize art, as well as career, and to have a career as an artist. 

Even before I developed a conscious love for movies and acting I was, it seemed, inherently creative. I would pretend my life was a series of television shows. I would determine theme songs of these “TV shows” and when nobody else was around, I would ever pretend to give interviews about them or explain what had happened “previously on…” whichever imaginary show, or what would happen in the next “episode.”

Through studying the works of Travolta (along with Tom Hanks and other actors) I grew exposed not merely to film acting performances and a notion of career, but also I became a kind of autodidact of film in general, specifically film dialogue and the themes in movies, such as race relations, the Holocaust, American history, love, art, et cetera. 

The girlfriend I had while living in South Beach, was, herself, an aspiring filmmaker with a profound passion for film. By the time I was living in South Beach I was more interested in poetry than film but the notions of art and film that propelled my artistic inclinations as such were so deeply embedded within me that despite other problematic aspects of our relationship, our shared love for film became a foundation for our romance. 

(TO BE CONTINUED…) 

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On moving some place better (part 8) (Vlog #49)

***THE NOTES***

*Some of the philosophical questions related to choosing where to live (proximity to those we love, aesthetics, spiritual refreshment, et cetera…)

*This move to Basking Ridge feels like a chance for a “clean slate…” ; a bombardment of newness (new town, new roads, new condo, new desk, new neighbors, new geography, new economy, new internet provider, et cetera…)

*A gaffe….contradicting myself about why three moves to FL in a row amounted in disaster for me…

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Walt Whitman; Song of Myself, Part 51

*Montaigne’s sexism & cynicism…

*Another reason why I love Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground

*My love for romantic love goes back to when I was about three and a half years old…by about 10/11 years old I grew obsessed with Grease and West Side Story— both of which impacted how I idealized “romantic love,” “love at first sight,” wanted to fall in love on the beach, processed contradictory examples of theoretical romantic love (how to explain my seemingly apolitical, otherwise Democrat by default father and my former, very Republican stepmother!?!)

*My superficial, mystical, irrational notion of romantic love

*Prior to the girlfriend I had at Florida Gulf Coast University/South Beach I never really had a “serious” relationship

*I didn’t tend to appreciate girls for who they were, mostly just how they made me -FEEL-… even the first girl I ever spent almost all my time with (though we did manage to connect in certain respects…example: both artistic…)

On a Romantic Evening (A philosophical, personal “micro-essay”)

[Note: This piece was originally written in the summer of 2017 as a poem. Over the past few years it has been revised and re-conceptualized to its current form as a very a sort of personal micro-essay on romantic love]

Things we do not desire, which I do not prefer to list, do exist in this universe but not in here, where our hands are touching like water touches the surface of the Earth as we float a little, on a black, leather couch and watch a fictional cop and a criminal shooting bullets at each other, on the television screen, or is it congress versus President Trump’s corrupt conspirators, or jeez, is it a shielded window through which we see countless episodes of good versus evil- life’s most basic theme? Now my wife’s hand slips away, innocently, like a leaf on a branch would shift in the wind, so she could grab her glass of water from the small table in front of the couch. A little while later we turn towards each other and lean in for a long kiss. After that we both smile- our lips spreading like a sunrise, bit by bit, pushing out night’s darkness, diplomatically exiling it, and we continue watching the TV.