17 February, 2010

"Some people are very talented at love..."

"Oftentimes we sit in the slow dim of the light and listen as a quiet bit of Chopin plays in the distance, and we slowly cross the bridge from our ordinary lives to something... remarkably similar..." his eyes crack at the sides with mischief and an anticipatory pleasure, like the sides of his mouth set in an almost imperceptible smirk. I sit in the corner absolutely still. Cautious yet fascinated, I take stock, watching him think. "…but sometimes; sometimes we are grabbed by the throat and transported to a totally different world..."

And somehow, you just instinctively believe that by following this inscrutable bloke, you will somehow stumble upon that world. And I am stumped, sitting there curious and a bit stunned: how does he accomplish that?

He stands there in the wake of his own words, hands out before him, as though grasping for articulation— as if it were something to be tangibly held— as if with the right incantatory movements one might be able to hold before them the exact kernel of their meaning and intention.

Hands extended, one can tell his energy contains an element of the crass, the deliciously vulgar; and his ownership of an almost reckless sexuality is what drives not only his passions but his humor. And with that, he laughs— robust, from his guts, what Howard Barker would describe as "the peculiar laugh of tragedy— the laugh on the rim of death."

Yet the majority of his manner is soft— voice a soothing English murmur, a diffident sentimental gaze, and the previously mentioned hands seem gentle, playful, tentative, almost, dare I say it, feminine— almost childlike— one imagines what they get up to, what they've explored.

And it is precisely this rich and disparate accumulation of qualities that has me held so within the first few moments.

"But I do think we should just play,” he continues, “we mustn’t concern ourselves with the delivery of perfection, that last bastion of what we call ‘performance quality’ or ‘our all.’ We are explorers, delving into a murky pool of unknown water, and we must not fear either it or our own inadequacy to take it on…”

Careless, rumpled button-up over a striped t-shirt. It dresses his frame in such a manner that in certain lights he appears French, in others, perhaps Croatian. (Hungarian, maybe?) There is a European flair there, make no mistake, and it emanates not form the striped shirt itself, but from the essence of the man who selected it, and chose to put it on.

“…I know what you are all thinking, that you are not enough, that you are crap, really, that you will never be able to do justice to the piece, to the extent of your abilities, to what you are fully capable of…”

There is also wild graying hair held off his face with spectacles, angular teeth perfumed with tobacco smoke, and a musk one could only describe as man.

“That not only will you not be able to deliver that today, but actually, overall you are inadequate on every level. That, after billions of years of evolution, finally, from the depths of bubbling seas, there came along a creature as inadequate as me. Well, put that away. Just discover and explore and let’s see what is there together."

As I listen and observe him from the very back of the gathering, I note that at the center of all this is the eyes.

“It is, after all, about many forms of love…”

Eyes lines with a deep, iced-blue pain— a specific kind of hurt. The kind capable of vision. Vision at a cost. It always costs. And it is just then I come across this glint of observation which he declares quietly, definitely:

"…some people are very talented at love..."

It was a quiet utterance of ordeal.
Civilized.
But present.

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