You could be anyone, celebrate boy

30 05 2012

Late late, so quick quick:

A., a photographer and secretary in my CUNY department, has been hosting an Italian artist the past couple of months, and while she’s had fun with him and has learned from him, she’s also a bit bumfuzzled by him.

He’s a dreamer—a dreamer! She says this with her hand in the air.

A few weeks ago he was looking to fall in love and stay in New York, but now he’s looking at all of the reasons to leave.

Fall in love! He’s here for two months and he wants to fall in love and have a relationship! He did not fall in love; he leaves for Italy in a few days.

He’s gonna stay here and he doesn’t have a job? How’s he going to pay the rent? She gave me a look.

It’s good he’s an artist; he should stay an artist. But what was he thinking? This is New York!

That’s one of the things I like about New York: You can say you’re an artist or a writer or a dancer and people will take you seriously, because here these are practical occupations. You are not dismissed as a flake for pursuing this work, even with the recognition of  the unlikelihood of making of living doing only this work.

New York: the place for practical dreamers.

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2 responses

30 05 2012
dmf

sounds like the plot of a parker posey flick.

31 05 2012
dmf

Nothing Stays Put
by Amy Clampitt

In memory of Father Flye, 1884-1985

The strange and wonderful are too much with us.
The protea of the antipodes–a great,
globed, blazing honeybee of a bloom–
for sale in the supermarket! We are in
our decadence, we are not entitled.
What have we done to deserve
all the produce of the tropics–
this fiery trove, the largesse of it
heaped up like cannonballs, these pineapples, bossed
and crested, standing like troops at attention,
these tiers, these balconies of green, festoons
grown sumptuous with stoop labor?

The exotic is everywhere, it comes to us
before there is a yen or a need for it. The green-
grocers, uptown and down, are from South Korea.
Orchids, opulence by the pailful, just slightly
fatigued by the plane trip from Hawaii, are
disposed on the sidewalks; alstroemerias, freesias
fattened a bit in translation from overseas; gladioli
likewise estranged from their piercing ancestral crimson;
as well as, less altered from the original blue cornflower
of the roadsides and railway embankments of Europe, these
bachelor’s buttons. But it isn’t the railway embankments
their featherweight wheels of cobalt remind me of, it’s

a row of them among prim colonnades of cosmos,
snapdragon, nasturtium, bloodsilk red poppies,
in my grandmother’s garden: a prairie childhood,
the grassland shorn, overlaid with a grid,
unsealed, furrowed, harrowed and sown with immigrant grasses,
their massive corduroy, their wavering feltings embroidered
here and there by the scarlet shoulder patch of cannas
on a courthouse lawn, by a love knot, a cross stitch
of living matter, sown and tended by women,
nurturers everywhere of the strange and wonderful,
beneath whose hands what had been alien begins,
as it alters, to grow as though it were indigenous.

But at this remove what I think of as
strange and wonderful, strolling the side streets of Manhattan
on an April afternoon, seeing hybrid pear trees in blossom,
a tossing, vertiginous colonnade of foam, up above–
is the white petalfall, the warm snowdrift
of the indigenous wild plum of my childhood.
Nothing stays put. The world is a wheel.
All that we know, that we’re
made of, is motion.

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