Signs as I crossed my heart. Eyes have held up the world. A dereliction of duty. They should have been watching you. As I do. Only seeing. Always open to seeing you. Through. Getting out of the way of the lens. Losing only the focus just a moment before the flash catches hold of you. And why do you look at me instead of the lens that designs an impression of something you might not yet be? Or do you see me as the lens that is too close to know your secrets, but too far to not be curious about who you might be?
While I was tinkering and thinking about whether a Blues guitar solo should share amicable space with an alto saxophone on a number, I was captured by this captivating photograph of Tsehai Essiebea Farrell which led me on a great train of thought for the lyrics to come. Ethiopia had been on my mind recently because of a conversation I had with a great Ethiopian Artist about an awakening he had. A revelation about his place in the world, his vocation, and the micro of the worlds within his wider perception. So much of the telling if not the toiling of life, both in our written past and living present, has much to do with our vantage point and the dubious nature of our muscle memory where matters of the tender heart are concerned. Uncomfortably numb but our eyes never tire of seeing and being seen. Or do they? Do they know? Do they look in on us and play our hand against better judgement? Our windows remain the seducer and the seduced, for perpetuity. It can seem that way. And what is seen is unseen. What is known is a mystery as I am to you. Always the stranger from eye to eye. Yet familiar in some kind of way. Never fully known.
He was looking up, sky was looking down cast, hunched over the lessons it was teaching the young man who was closer to eternal life than the riches of mortality.
Sky always wanted legs and would trade places to feel what it was like to stand on ground, manly and rooted to core truth, womanly and mother to the men of war.
They judge a man by the shoes he wears. Clean as they come to darken his day. His skin is stainless brown. He wears a plaintive face that hides history in a half smile that holds memory. Of all and none. He walks in my direction, holding my gaze in his shaded eyes. Faded out of view, I turn my head to loosen the neck tie of my intrigue. A lit cigarette in a righteous hand grips him tighter than his laces. The smoke is heavy. I can’t see him as he is behind his pose. He walks on the shallow perception of the disdain that surrounds him. Cool knows the envy of the dull. His feet are subject to the ground that curves around the lies he was sold. About himself. He stops and makes the sign of the cross. Some incoherent unspoken words escape into the world with his nicotine soaked breath. He continues his walk on the concrete surreality, paved with unfurnished dreams and fleshed out fears. Without ever moving his legs.
When I was younger I used to spend a lot of time reading books in libraries. I think Art galleries are similar. One difference is that you can only read the words of a painting with the eyes behind your eyes if its the work of a true Artist. Such a pretentious thing to say but its half true. And the pages of some paintings are left unfinished with or without intention. Thats not as tolerable in books you would find in most books displayed alphabetically in a library. But the abstract ‘truth’ in unfinished paintings often seems much closer to my experience of the world and my perception of reality. The seeing and unseeing in paintings feel more accurate than the specificity of the language conveyed by written words on a page that bends. On the other hand, the written word is crucial. We write so that we might recite. And that is not all. Our malleable eyes are not only made for the glory of painterly visions but for redrafting what we see.
Its always the guy left of centre. And its always a game within a game. No crown. No throne. Just moving pieces.