four quartets: the universe
by tj worthington
This new project has been finished a couple days. Original intent was to see it sideways. It was ok, but I like vertical better. Original vision was vertical. Sideways, I liked how it looked like an open book. Vertically, I see a beaded curtain. I turned it often while applying the dots. Did not want to fall into patterns. This one was slow to take with me. I'd never done anything like this before. It was totally new to my experience. I've learned the material object does not always accord with the hologram vision in the head. The idea of it drew me to do it. Some ideas are best left to fade away, so I don't trust all my ideas. Some need to be tried before I see they don't work. And some do work. The finished piece tells me if the vision, itself, worked. I've noticed from writing about the recent projects, when I vary from the original vision, I usually return to it. It's helping me trust original vision more. All dots were applied consciously avoiding patterns. It's hardly chance, though the color arrangements in each line fell by chance. The dots were applied in a quarter section at a time. I wanted each quartet to have its own energy. In dim light across the room it looks like four pages of Chinese writing, white on black. I like the regular rows of colors arranged by apparent chance, like words on a page. If I were to go over a page of any writing in English and mark a color on every occurrence of the word the, the order of the markings would appear to be absence of order, though reading it, the words occur in perfect order. Brings to mind a quotation from Henry Miller's, Big Sur, Confusion is an order which is not understood. I call it, The Universe, because we do not understand the universe, which has its order. We don't even understand ourselves, in which we have much order we're not aware of.
I see in it a visualization of my view of the individual in the whole of humanity, or the whole of any group of people, herd of donkeys, school of fish, flock of birds. In winter, I see dozens of snowbirds pecking the seeds I throw on the ground. On first sight, the birds all look alike, slate-gray with white bellies. Watch awhile and one hops a little differently from the others, one has a wing that doesn't fold to its side just right, one has a lighter gray than the others, another has a darker gray. They vary in sizes. I go on watching and it's not long before I recognize a the same ones every day. Each one is uniquely individual. If I were small enough to see their faces, I'd see they have individual faces. Among themselves, each one is as radically unique as individual humans, like in a classroom at school, where all know each other, have their favorites and the ones they don't like. I see in the birds, too, they have individuals they're partial to and the ones they stay away from. I see in a herd of cows they have their friends they stay near much of the time and the ones they avoid. The cattle, like the birds, have no laws and they live in peace. Occasionally, two cows will have a disagreement and settle it however it suits them, a butting of heads or a head in the side, and that's it, a body language argument. We have perpetual war, but in most places on earth people are living in peace. In this county, we have peace. In the next counties, north, south, east and west, they live in peace. It is only in huge population centers where certain people are kept in poverty because their pigmentation is not acceptable in the world of business, gangs and gang wars occur. In the country, two guys get into it and they fight. After they fight, they're friends.
In these almost daily writings, I see patterns running through them while each one is uniquely itself. I go into each one blank with no intentions or ideas. Start with one sentence, follow it with another, then another. Most often, after a few sentences, and in some cases several sentences, I see a line of thinking, then follow it to see where it goes. I learned from an old hillbilly preacher in the Regular Baptist church, to allow lines of thinking to come forward. In the old-time way of preaching, the man steps up to the pulpit with nothing in mind to say, an empty vessel, as they called it. Often, they'd apologize for having nothing to say, then it hit them and it was on. A strict part of the tradition is that the preacher go into his talking with nothing in mind to talk about, the spirit comes in and away he goes. I don't think of my writing as preaching in any way I look at it, though I like the process of allowing whatever is floating around inside rise to the surface and spell itself out. I start with what is in the front of my mind when I put down the first sentence. A flow of thought occurs and I follow it. I think of it as organic writing, a term coined by poet Denise Levertov, whose collected poems have recently been published. Organic in that it grows from inside itself. In the almost-daily writings, I'm recording the thoughts and experiences of one individual, in one place, in one time. It doesn't matter that it's me. I've cut out half the possible viewers by being so freely anti-republican politically. Republicans have become marionettes of the super-rich, power by money. I'm more inclined to honor the working class man and woman than the ruling class. I know how dispiriting working your ass off every day for very little return can be with no end in sight but death.
I used to have hopes about the fate of the working man and woman, but hope has long gone from my list of desires. I crossed the line from living with hope to living without hope after seeing the Civil War movie, Glory. Drove to Winston-Salem to see it. Friends I share movie interests with liked it. It tore me up more powerfully than almost any move has. I recall walking to my truck, then a crayola blue 78 Toyota pickup with a red door driver's side. I sat down and couldn't turn to key to start. Sat there, hands on steering wheel, unable to come down out of my head enough to drive. I told self with full meaning to give up hope, give it up now, be done with it permanently, prayed as much from the heart as ever to have hope removed from my life, meaning it enough to commit. I still have automatic hopes to some degree, but give them little attention. I watched the regiment of black men, all of them enlisted in the war motivated by belief they were helping their black brothers and sisters, wives and children, mothers and fathers. Intelligent people, uneducated, seeming naive. In the story, I saw black man in relation to white man. In my own case, it was working class man in relation to corporate man. In either case, the little man doesn't stand a chance. If I were to protest and demonstrate, I'd only get beat up by cops, hospitalized or killed. The black men in the regiment dreamed they could one day live a free life. In the end, they were all killed in a suicide attack, a lesser version of Gallipoli. The most symbolic moment of the film was one second long, a head exploding hit by a cannonball. The film exploded my head. I drove home in a new mind. Living it, I've come to see the illusion I suspected hope is, strongly enough to jump in and see. Result, mind calmed way down. Don't worry~Be happy.