Saturday, March 25, 2017

What is Misfortune?

Perhaps misfortune begins with a ringing in the left ear.  It moves on to issue bad weather: storms, extreme cold, thunder and lightning – before widening its scope to make room for an accident requiring surgery, a failed relationship, emergency dental work and a lost wallet. Beware – it will find you more easily if you convince yourself that it’s gone for good.

Maybe while holding your breath, you may get a chance to throw a knife at misfortune’s chest, or kick it square in the jaw, sending it flying backward into a pile of boxes. Either way it is one down, two to go. Yet even as the darkness of all former unfortunate moments crowd together within you, life itself presents you with a most mysterious gift.  The world paints the world with light as snow mounds melt to make way for crocus buds. No applause, no congratulations as heavy sheets of spring rain feel surprisingly warm and refreshing on your arm.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Like Birds

Perhaps children are like birds. Today see one thing, tomorrow another, yet remember nothing. They clamor for pebbles to build a toppling palace with, for flowers forgotten as soon as they are cut. With the invisible strings of a pretend bow they shoot a make-believe arrow into the open sky. As long as they don’t aim, they’ll never miss the mark. 

Maybe as the child in us departs, a shadow comes over our faces. But is it our fault? How happy we shall be! we proclaim in the pale tones of early morning after revisiting the youthful joy of singing a song out loud. Yet we are troubled to see that the once bright red bricks of the chimney have visibly darkened. A birdfeeder falls in the backyard, cracks and spills its seeds. We leave it on the ground.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Magician and His Wife

Perhaps the magician and his wife, now retired, live in a small house in the country surrounded by tulips. Each day the magician waters the tulips, and tells his wife about the flowers that have newly appeared. There goes the old man into the garden again, bent with a watering can in his shaking hand. His wife stands at the door and looks at him calmly.

Maybe the magician’s wife has seen this image a thousand times, yet sees it a little less well every time since her eyesight has weakened. She stands at the garden gate and calls out to him but he does not hear her voice. His eyes are grey and old and something in them is strange – one would like to say alive. The magician’s wife follows him and takes his arm. Together they stand at a threshold, yet dare not step over it. Dusk is gathering as they walk back into the house.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Nude in the Bath

Perhaps the woman with the invisible face is a constant source of mystery. Though not at the physical center of the composition, she is the main focus around which the room revolves.

Maybe even as she lies encased in a watery tomb constructed from the gleaming white rim of the tub, there is always a chance the woman will slip out of the picture at the lower edge. Her pink flesh tinged with lilac might for a time escape the flatness of the painting, and emerge from its suffocating color and light into a great wind that will carry her over tall grasses via a scheming, mischievous sky. Sunglasses in hand, the woman will arrive in a cold country in the middle of a heavy snowstorm. To make ends meet she will walk from door to door selling pencils and writing paper until someone invites her in for a cup of coffee. Then as her host proceeds to tell the most appalling tales that include the despicable conduct of the local people, the first step will have been taken. The woman will now be torn between wishful thinking and the idea that some way for her to leave this place will surely be found.