mask

I’m culling from text I kinda spewed out into the machine while I was out west, there were letters to you in there I never sent for the spaciness of them, but there were descriptions of messages coming down wireless hot spots on isolated highways and such I kept. I’ll try and get em to you for approval before you head south. Drinks by three on Sunday in the sun. mmm.
The red paint on the chin is the undercoat, the blood color under the skin… light beard colour has a lot of skin colour in it, there’s a surprisingly small color shift. I noticed the red looked raw when I posted the painting but left it. The picture’s  about half done and I’ll post it completed, replace this shot. I left the red for my own imagination too, a bit of edge to play with, the blood reference as i paint. I want to keep it in there minimally, the wolf requires it sorta.
Interesting you said there’s a good chance  the need for comforting is from the same place the need for control…
the mechanics of departure.
these clockwork departures
dilated, a gaze beyond me
the boy on the bus tells me indigo people are overcome with their own emotion, too sensitive and greedy for the times, reincarnated out of Atlantis, that old rigmarole. I wonder why all the loonies read the same books, , whether the books are cause or symptom. I am at the age where old friends go mad, or disappear into behavior patterns,  die. They become stupid. They believe in conspiracies and eat special food, self righteous about their intake if not their output, and swallowing whole complete crap if it offers a story in which they are not a part of the destruction of the world. I think of the older artists I fell in with in my twenties, taught me a lot too. But I ended up defining myself against them over the years, as I grew socially analytical and found things to say outside their approval scale or range even. They kinda taught me how to critique at my culture and then I looked at them. Judgmental as could be, I was. Like seeing if a chair will hold your weight in a way but there’s no sense in kicking the chair if its too small.
Judgment… I could have shown better. Eight thirty in the soft grey morning ten years later.
The boy on the bus explains they are the indigo people. He was told this in a dream. He’s built like a little bull and talks of his violent side. How he likes to drink beer and walk the city streets screaming. He is on a mental disability. He’ll have to live in a hotel until he finds an apartment. He sees auras. He never mentions mine.

This road. I just let myself be buffeted, I  don’t know why, just to be out on it I suppose, to be among the others, a hobo in a cashmere coat with all the recent technology. That letter you wrote calmed me…I pulled it down outside a chain restaurant last night.  I slept in traffic afterward, scrolled through it a second time while the air-brakes contrived a slowdown before a turn onto a northern highway, out of a service station, an Indian reserve behind a snow-fence behind a McDonald’s restaurant..wolf coloured hills, dry soap powder snow.The lights of phones on the faces of tired strangers as a bus idles near a fleet of idling transport trucks, diesel and steam, subzero, waste, donut palaces,  sleeping berths. These are already old-time memories as capitalism fails, according to the boy across the aisle. We became quickly friends last night… he said he was a poet would I like to hear his latest rap and he spoke violence and respect just away from our fellow travelers down a ways where I’d walked to smoke a joint. He said he sensed my genius. I said I was a good painter. He smelled smoke. At lunch in a highway side food court he tells me he was killed in training as a ninja in a past life. He says in another he was white, his wife an Indian and they blew her head off in a tee-pee for their love.  Oh voyageurs. I wear a red plaid jacket under my fine trench-coat, a joke. Our laptops connecting across the sky, the shield, the endless, tragically seeming, forest. You said something about looking forward to a reunion, an image came in of a boy in makeup  pouting for a camera.

Hard to believe you came from this terrain, passed through a few days ago, noticed that pale sun too… and out west it is paler, wan. Just hurtled through in the dead of night in a snowstorm.
Back to the road, was checking for wireless… the little mails drifting down in service stations are a blessing.  My glut of words, my surfeit. Keep the light seeming touch I know that now… this disjointed letter from snowy lurching two lanes.
I run off every little while, just to escape the claustrophobic sense I have lately, to feel like I don’t need the people who occupy my thoughts, people I crave sometimes. I fall into character for narrating a novel I’m always playing with… a character I prefer to myself sometimes, for his detachment and his arbitrary restlessness.
I observe from rows back, little smiling spaces established among the motley crew around me.
In the dead of night a big black boy sprawled beside me with his legs and ibook wide open, one foot in a high tech cast I kicked accidentally in my sleep so he showed me how it inflated, how the Velcro ripped back and the little crank tightened it against the bone.
One night I woke up and there were three men each to a seat sprawled across the aisle, legs wide in the dim light with the land rolling by outside, and the zippers askew and the belly’s bare in the heat and the muggy smell of travel everywhere, of pin joints smoked outside terminals, fast food wrappers, a copy of a book about a werewolf flapping open on the floor, where it fell. low hiss of earphone mpegs. |The restless contortions of mobile sleep, the haunches.
I thought of home where I was painting away at three drummer boys and pencil drawings of you and slp were pinned up in a row in the back room that catches the morning light. I had a little canvas primed black and some black and white oil mixed up and I started working on that portrait of you as the leather-wolf. It’ll be dry and full of cat hair by the time I get home, and I’ll go in for another bout. Getting a likeness of somebody in the leather mask’s eye holes, that’s the key, Not that I’m looking for inner secrets and shit in your day to day life, not as intensely as I have to hu

nt for it for the purposes of a painting, give it some life.
charleys'
In the town where I’m holidaying You go to Charley’s in the morning and you go behind the counter and grab a cup and pour your own and then you go up and down the counter doing refills if yer worth a pinch of coon shit. I sat for a long while before a nice farmer told me  it was self serve so I got up and did  the silex pot. I grabbed a cookie from under the counter while finding a spoon.
I heard the real coyotes yipping the other night out in east end when I wandered down by the coulee. I took a lot of photos. The bleakness  I emphasized it for the photos by using black and white and letting the influence of too many fifties westerns take hold. How could I not. Here was a landscape that fulfilled my dreams, right down to the cornice details and the golden eagle I saw, no hawks here in winter said Duke the old cowboy, it’d be a golden eagle.
I’m warm and it is quiet enough to write. I became exceptionally bachelorish and organized upon having my own room, my technology charging, my carefully warm and generally appropriate wardrobe brushed, laundered, folded. I slept like the dead, a sleep so bodily wooden I awoke numb from immobility. I climbed past the cowboy boots much like my own at home, to the kitchen upstairs and its radio heartsick with love and turgidly alarmed with snow warning. And there was that washed out, pale sun you mentioned in your letter.
Friends would be embittered perhaps mildly to realize my tendency toward full body denim, bandannas, vulgar belts and cowboy boots would do perfectly here. Were my landlord, Duke, not quite so short and bowlegged I could step into his gear with nary a hitch, and disappear into the two or three people on main street, on redcoat drive tonight. He has a bachelor’s respect for privacy and leaves me to my own devices, literally, always with the laptop and the camera am I, living out, oddly enough the daily rhythms of a character in fiction I write, in transit with his toys, looking for answers.
I dabble in that character’s solitary movements, his wired, lonesome existence in his preferred unmodernized places. I dine down redcoat drive once a day at a Greek family restaurant. I sit typing here now. Every little while I have the thought “you’re losing me” run through my head, a sarcastic voice, my own, snarling and looking away as if forgetting immediately I was not alone. Like a hook line from a song.
And as we came into the prairies all my claustrophobia fell away and I sat up all night, through dawn, thinking sober thoughts against my reflection against bleak terrain, the ripple of wires, the ribbon below, the welter of sky.I’m in exactly the landscape I pictured in desire.

In your letters Earl, you often briefly, neatly, describe states of mind I can’t quite delineate, especially those that require an immersion in net life I’ve not much acquired, at least I do not travel into it as far as you do, or understand its coding. Oh but meat space, and meat time, those are phrases I use often. I bought a nice  little net book, surprisingly good, and it felt very natural to pull it out of my saddle bag and take notes, to process images..
I need to sleep but I hope you understand better than I do my narrative here. The medium not the message entirely or even partially, but perhaps intrinsic in the spurious or profound content. etc. this does abide.
I do sense you there at the same sort of task, and I’m glad of your presence. My own detachment from things has always been considerable, but I’m a great phony, and seem much more involved with daily life than I really feel… I’m left exhausted and bored much of the time from simply feigning interest, in anything other than the creative work and so live a rather false life.
coming home
Home.. the bar, decent coffee, a party, just like that, music, treatment… j night in the little city. wouldn’t take my money, sent me on my way to stay with some friends The photographer from the link I sent you, and a choreographer dancer from links before… I could talk about dance and art and about your talk about detachment downloading outside a free wireless diner in the middle of Saskatchewan. How beautiful that was, and modern and odd, and the Indian family each with an ipod across the aisle when I woke, hunched over their little screens reflected in bus glass. Ryan and I agreed that we felt detached, overly, but also without scope, that being the problem, or if not a problem, then a recurring or constant condition. There’s a new cat in the house, the change of cats as the old ones died out.  Collette’s love of cats comes to mind.  of high order just like that. And a couple of Tylenol.  Just like that.
Ryan and I talked a lot last night about detachment and engagement… he only feels engaged when he dances, mebbe the same with me, but he’s a professional and a choreographer and me I just like to shake while I still can. We talked about the shift from verbal engagement, thought, the inner commentary, about the shift from that to the pre-verbal state of dance and oddly enough, painting, and I find, photography too. pre-verbal, post-verbal, just non-verbal. How the last time I made the shift to painting i sensed a chasm open under me. We’d been exchanging those sweet dark videos and the mention of wolves punctuated a lot of conversations. It wasn’t just me calling them up.


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what I’m painting now…monday, february first 2010

You said in your letter to write about what I’m painting now. You were maybe sitting in a virtual world taking pictures of your self there at the time. You’d found a room with the ripped wallpaper and the old oriental carpet like my real time room for painting portraits and perhaps your avatar was dressed in the half wolf persona you wear sometimes. From what you send me. You said you were thinking of taking your meat time persona in there, into the virtual, a little cut and paste, a little interweave, you had to figure out the parameters. I was tickled at your using a virtual place and your entity in there as a artist/photographer’s model.  I said “The implications are smart, there’s a nice science fiction edge to it, the mundane process of taking snaps also strips off  the mystique of the  medium… I can see it kind of ease people into talk about meat and virtual time etc.,  yap that’s entirely familiar to you and I maybe. Most of the population hears babel from an impenetrable world.

We were talking about having your shows in places in virtual worlds, shows of work from outside, and about us using ourselves as subject matter. Like Robert Lowell did in his poetry I’m thinking but I’m no Robert Lowell.  You said “Maybe it’s all a big stroke off, I guess that’s a natural part of it. I meant more that I use myself as a subject. I tried to explain this one time in film school and people just didn’t get it: It’s certainly an ego stroke, or perhaps more aptly an ego builder for me, but also if some of the things I’m doing might come off as exploitive, I’d rather be exploiting myself, if that makes sense. I figure I shouldn’t ask anyone else to do what I wouldn’t be willing to, barring inability.”

Me, I’m painting portraits of course. I tend to forget painting anything else though it isn’t even a year I said this is what I do, portraits of people,  this is the persona. I hardly think beyond the physical attraction. The addictive gloat.

This pictures maybe going well but  there’s a heavy, raw bodily sadness to making it and to lookin at it, I never felt the melancholy like. Comes with the kit, at least this time with mine. Heavy but not while I actually paint. I try not to stop. I’m full of the wolf and the last wasted moon then. I didn’t get to run. Avid for flesh, for no words, for no word processing. Vivid company here when it comes. Then the dirty cups and spoons. The surprising silence it all comes to.

I’m runnin a bath and stripping off while I’m painting the pattern on the blanket over a big leg and if I get the pattern right there’s a big leg too. Something I hanker over  like an animal set in the bourgie paradigm of parlor decoration and oil paint. Set in a lot of paradigms and shrugging off each as a poor fit. I got a letter on facebook from a young and distant cousin. He said growing up baptist in this little town he always felt like he was being watched, on display. Jaysus missing nothing with his helpers licking ice-cream and never missing a beat either, main street Friday night. This cousin’s a musician, a performer. If you can’entirely conform you can at least entertain mebbe. A lot of my family performs, though when we were kids the constant refrain every time you opened your mouths was “Don’t be bold”.