I do not pursue quietly, I devour. In winter, I flew to Berlin to see you. You told me about these fountains that you used to take the long way to see. The fountains were large stone cubes placed in the courtyards of all these new office blocks that went up around your eastern Berlin subway station. When the cubes were first placed they were new and beautiful. Each cube was a different type of stone and slowly the water eroded them. Winter came and the water would freeze sections of the stone. Pieces would fall off and shatter. Your friend said she was there when it happened once. The sound was very loud and memorable. It startled her and then, realizing the rarity, she felt happy to be startled. A mouth can also be an opening I think. You told me all of this two years before I actually saw these fountains, right when I was trying to do something similar with leather (inscribe time across an object that is actually also living). This was around the same time that I found that I could not stop thinking about what Auden said in memory to Yeats: “For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives / In the valley of its making where executives / Would never want to tamper, flow on south / From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs, / Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives / A way of happening, a mouth.” I kept having dreams that I was a mouth or that I was being eaten. I kept wondering what kind of stone I was and then forgetting what I had decided on. (When I saw myself I couldn’t believe it, and scarcely remember.) Maybe there are things that we should become accustomed to not seeing. That or what June Jordan said in “It’s Hard to Keep a Clean Shirt Clean”: “What’s anyone of us to do / about what’s done.” I would never expect to see a piece fall off one of these stones (especially now that they are covered in moss). I would expect to see an elephant alone in the zoo. You’ll be surprised to hear that when you touch a tree that was burned one year ago, after it has rained one day ago, that the tree feels like damp cardboard and that your hands will be covered in soot. By creating a perimeter around something (I’d argue) then you have a form of opening.
The big tree in the yard sheds leaves all year round. I cut a piece of leather to mimic the shape of a stone. The ice freezes in my indigo bath and suspends the pigment in a kind of useless threat. I’d turn you blue if only I could get out of the bind of my elemental state, which I did not consent to nor define. No perimeter really exists. It’s around now it’s obvious that the old arguments are useless, flow doesn’t really have direction.
Why do some fingers have more roundness than others? I swim in the Pacific, I eat pizza in the hills. I walk between buildings with the phone to my ear and I slip along the spine that is the 5. I try not to think of what it would have meant if I had stayed in this place, or stayed in any place rather than what I have been doing, high so high, chasing the something of being an artist. That something being that thing that you could do where you control your work’s presentation so much you ensure you’re there for every installation, even to your own physical determinant. I push clay, I make the same vessel over and over again. I come crawling down the grape vine over the hills and into a valley or a plateau, I see trees that must be Joshua trees but are just something different altogether. In conversation I learn things and I no longer ask for phone numbers rather expect we’ll see each other again or we won’t. Pulling myself forward in the water I can feel there is a muscle working somewhere below my calves. A trauma I can share with you is that as a child I struggled with the twelve times table, or really any basic mathematical computations that involved twelve in some capacity. Nobody told me that math is a construction of quickly known things put together while the unknowns remain until finally the unknown can be broken down small enough it can be known and thus can be attended to. I made a work this year that is trying very hard to be in a window but not doing so well. You know that poem where Eileen Myles is talking about how being a dog on a leash must bring such pleasure. Imagine scraping your knees on the pavement for all that pleasure. It’s the reassurance they’re throwing knives at. I think I’d prefer to be water in a dam or an excavated hillside. I’m seeping into the ground. Everything I’ve known will be all together different and I’ll know exactly who to blame.