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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.


greg rappleye said...

Lovely post.


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.


anything but poetry said...

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