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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yaddo Bits

I've been crying. Last night I cried for about twenty minutes. And today, after dinner, I went straight to my room and cried. No, no: I'm not depressed or sad. I've been thinking about the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Whenever I allow myself to concentrate on his work I become an emotional wreck. I've always wanted to write a poem informed by one of his pieces, but each attempt I've made has been a mess: too obvious or too sentimental.

But this evening as I was reading Jean Valentine I came across two lines that floored me.

breath and breath
two horses


I immediately thought of this Gonzalez-Torres piece, and then I heard myself softly mutter some lines and images. I dashed to my desk, and wrote down what I'd said. I looked at the lines. I cut out one line, and I edited another. I put down my notebook and walked away. I dare say that I wrote a poem tonight.

Thank you, Jean Valentine. Thank you, Felix

*
I love walking down to Saratoga Springs. I especially enjoy walking past the horse stables. Racing season starts on Wednesday, and there's a lot of Mexican/ Central American men working in the stables. I love to catch glimpses of them working. Today a short man wearing a Gloria Trevi t-shirt was forking hay onto the flatbed of a truck. I never stop and gawk at them. I understand they're working hard, and I'm on my way downtown to sip an iced coffee, or to buy more books. I understand. I do. I'm working in a different way. I'm working to write poems that their children will one day read and study in high schools and colleges. Poems that will say to them: your parents haven't been forgotten, their stories have been written down, the fire-language that came out of their mouths still burns and illuminates.
*
And no: I'm not spending all my time at Yaddo crying. I called Rigoberto tonight and he had me laughing soon enough.
*
Right now I'm thinking of my father's hands.
*

6 comments:

greg rappleye said...

Lovely post.

Thanks.

Oliver de la Paz said...

Looks like you're doing some real mining, my friend.

Matthew Thorburn said...

Man, I love stories like that.

Antoine Wilson said...

I had some F.G-T cloud posters on the walls of my Gilbert Street apartment. My faves have always been the lightbulbs. But the "perfect lovers" piece is breathtaking. Peace, A

Manuel Paul Lopez said...

Beautiful post, E.

M

anything but poetry said...

I love Felix Gonzalez-Torres...I have been obsessed with the empty bed billboards for a long time...