What’s The Buzz ?
Corner of 28th Street and 5th Avenue, NYC, June 1, 2012
Posted on June 1, 2012
What do you do when you finish a project? You usually hurry on to the next project, for fear of the great divide that threatens to swallow you up whole as you face an inevitable moment that suspends belief that you still have something left to say. This time it’s different. That’s what you tell yourself as you sit up late with a glass of wine as smoke rings hover above a letter that you signal to whom the heart concerns the most. You unearth a time capsule of the joy of letter writing to commit thought to memory.
You go to bed late, you rise later than usual. You go out with Mariliana and drink a glass of wine that is overpriced. You make eyes at a French waiter who replies in kind in this city, where all eyes are usually on thieves of time that technology has to offer, ever hungry to take all souls who stray hostage. You talk about boys to men; the latter being, it seems a species which is threatened with extinction. Mariliana takes you to an Indian restaurant where cab drivers go where you eat a feast for under five dollars. You listen to rock music and you think about getting a tattoo.
You skip all dance classes. You apply for grants, jobs and panic, seeking out other europeans in exile as we wonder whether we will be able to dance to the music that we will face on our return. Someone says how about China, India, or Brazil. And you think I just want to go home as you panic some more. You start to have tooth ache which wakes you up at four in the morning. The pain drives you to drink – you start to gargle with rum, whisky, ice cubes, as you think about a do-it-yourself tooth extraction.
You start to study Beethoven’s seventh symphony and then the ninth, unable to decipher the score that you ordered a few years ago. You start to imagine how you would stage it; you see dancers, you see a trapeze, you want elephants, then a woman tap dancing on the shoulders of a paragliding pixie. (I made the last part up – but I do see dancers). Days later the man in the straw hat, who is back in town, asks you, “What are you up to, let me guess, you’re probably choreographing Beethoven’s Ninth with cameras swooping in an out”. You look away sheepishly, caught in the cross fire of a gaze that sees that there is more to you than meets the everyman’s eye.
You start to reread the Odyssey, wishing you had studied ancient Greek so you could at least engage with the loss that translation has to offer. You overlook the joy of pencilling alternative translations that adorn books that you left behind and that testify to the fact that you may never be a master of any language, merely a servant who is at liberty to covet dreams of all that freedom may release. The tooth ache continues to insist. You make a dental appointment. You walk around Central Park one afternoon with Jamie talking about dance for hours. You remember an evening a few days ago when you swung as high as you could on the swings, laughing beneath pine trees that remind you of the Villa Borghese in Rome. A five year old girl watches on as she orders her father to do the same. Soon, we’re all swinging higher and higher, laughing uncontrollably.
Later that night, you wake up and it’s four in the morning, again. And you decide against walking through the streets in search of something to relieve the pain. Instead, you go back to Beethoven before sleep offers a short respite from the search for a painless transition to a place where you may share the benefits and the burden of what we care to call our basic humanity. You wake up a few hours later, as you continue to count down the hours before a dentist will deliver you from the evil of pain that you are unable to describe. You realize that the joke is on you; the project you have just finished, a surround soundtracking album is called “Lost for Words” where you actually say, and I quote, “Remember the numbers, 1-10?” How can pain be reduced to numbers, you wonder, not for the first time, and certainly not for the last. Unless it is a crafty way of how to tell the time it takes for you to be out for the count…
You flex the muscles in your jaw…as you repeat after yourself, we may be over, but not out. Not now, not yet, and not for sale.
Read more from Miriam Aziz – The Artist is at Large http://miriamaziz.wordpress.com/