05 May 2008

M is for Water

The Butte Silver Bow Arts Foundation coordinated "Visions & Voices" -- a collaboration of 55 artists and 55 poets/writers -- as part of the first Art Walk for this year in Butte. Numerous galleries and businesses exhibit art of all kinds, and folks stroll from place to place in Uptown Butte on a Friday night. The "Visions & Voices" was a two part collaboration: first, with the artist creating a piece in response to a bit of prose or a poem; second, with the writer creating a bit of prose of a poem in response to an artist's piece. The second part of the collaboration was exhibited at the Venus Gallery in the Venus Rising Cafe' (124 S. Main St.). The first part was exhibited at the MoFAB gallery in the old YMCA (405 W. Park St.).

Here is a photograph of the papier-mâché piece "Desultory Delusion" by artist Kevin Curtis:

And my response, inspired by Curtis's art as well as the letter "M:"

M is for Water

We shape our papier-mâché lives into meaningful form.

It begins with our face. The infant’s smile when they fart. The toddler’s jaw set in a defiant “NO!” The belligerent boy’s shit eating grin after he has gotten away with some mean thing. Mona Lisa’s shy smile at the thought of her lover.

And living shapes our papier-mâché lives into meaningful form.

It begins with our spirit. Crushed by parents telling us that bugs are bad and scary. Warped by lies we tell ourselves about The Amerikan Way. Bundled away inside of big SUVs, super-sized meals, and five thousand square foot houses.

In late middle age, for a year or two, he had sought the truth about his own life. Once, after a steep climb up and a swift hike down some unnamed ridge of the Continental Divide, he knew Truth. Saw it. Tasted it. Even heard it, like the sound of northern lights crackling in a gin clear February sky. But it must have been the endorphins talking. By the time he stopped for lunch at the lake, this burning Truth had waned to a fuzzy, warm, pleasant ember—something like the afterglow of good sex.

Later that night, over port wine in a tin cup, he tried to unravel it all. It would be the last time. To know it, to really know this thing that was his life, you would have to take it apart. But then no single, isolated fragment would make any sense. And it would be dangerous. You’d end up like Steve Irwin, pierced through the heart by the very thing you wanted to know. From that moment on, he simply accepted the bricolage that was his life. A work in progress.

Leben is leben: Life is living.

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