“don’t lick art stuff…” – “but don’t try not to…”

our students wrote the most beautiful poems in the world. my favorite lines:

“Nature can’t speak, it is impossible but humans
Think that is the base of our lives
When really we are the base of the
Nature, to grow together.
we must cherish each moment,
each gift of life that is nature.
and every gift should return to nature
by planting a new silver,
which is a new life that came into
the world like we did.”

“It’s a kind of madness
It’s a kind of torture
It’s just my sadness
It’s just my fortune”

“Humanity has the capacity
To make the final decision,
The world’s salvation
Or the world’s destruction.”

“War is more than the loss of the same reason
It is found as far away from us and Awareness
The war and suffering is only because of that wild creature
Which calls itself rational
War is fire the pain and death that we all suffer”

“Many stones against your face
Remembering
The painful memories
That you can’t just forget
The fear of the times
You were stuck without thinking
Reaching for hands
You felt they were always missing”

“Because maybe
I need to know
Which is the real end
And if it is this or not
I won’t know it
If I don’t continue
And resist, resist,
Always the same, resist”

“Some people just wait
drowning their sorrows in silence
throwing the empty to the sea
knowing that everything is going to oblivion”

“You’re not taking me today, death,
I’m creating a new world,
I’m fixing the wrong,
And I won’t stop,
Today I’m not presenting my paper boat.”

 

they are very dark, yes. this is because we used inspiration poetry that had many social themes and undertones from oppressive histories. we cannot ignore these histories; as artists we are responsible for exposing their effect on the soul. this is one truth I know about the world. for otherwise, people will, as one of our students wrote, drown “their sorrows in silence.”

I am painfully unaware of all histories besides my own. as a teacher and a poet, I want to read and listen to the past of the world and the past of my fellow humans. however, I do not wish to open these soulbooks lightly, for it is not my place to do so. but by framing these poetry exercises in the mandala form and using other Latin American poets to kick start our students’ creative minds, I feel we have done justice to this community. I feel we have allowed ourselves, them, and their community a glimpse into an internal consciousness. I feel so lucky to be witness and a part of this.

where do I feel in place? in the souls of others. I am me, of course. I breathe my own breaths and think my own thoughts. but I know, over and over again, that I am a larger part of the whole. I clutch onto the people I meet, never wishing to let go, for I learn myself through them. I used to be afraid of this fact; thought perhaps I was not my own human. that I needed to present my soul as a new one. I have finally found all the beauty and hope in the collective nature that is my being.

as I walked through the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Casa de Azul two weekends ago (D.F.//Mexico City), I began to feel her soul permeating my own. i finally found myself in her two rooms, one for day and one for night. it was the last stop of the tour, and as i stood in the memories of one of the greatest artists, emotion welled inside me. tears in my eyes; i could feel her soul ebbing and flowing through the keepsakes and paints, through the dolls and medicines. i could have stood in that room and wept for hours. of her pain, of her colossal dreams, of her beauty. with the spinning feeling in my brain, I walked out of the room as quickly as I had walked in, overwhelmed.

i have seen many things in the short days of my 25 and one half years, and had endless feelings that morph, grow, recede. i reflect, and i become a new person each day. few things change me instantaneously. one memory that comes to mind is viewing Van Gogh’s work in Amsterdam. this was another experience in which i was moved to tears by the stroke of the brush on the canvas. we rushed from floor to floor in the very large museum, and i could barely contain the desire of my heart to jump out of my chest and into the olive trees. these moments of art are only one representation of my personal affect that becomes from the mandala of humanity; it does not always so explicitly inhabit my body, but when it does, I feel like I float above the plane of reality. I feel myself at oneness. I cannot meditate (traditionally) at this point in my life, but I believe this connection with humanity is the closest I have come.

what I mean to say by all of this is that I am trying, each day of my life, to  find my oneness with the world. to accept the place I set my feet in front of me; to respect in each body and being around me; to awe in the sacredness that is one second, and not wish it’s coming and going. i am thankful for Frida, for our students, for Lora, for Jocelyn and all of Arquetopia, for helping me realize and articulate this. thank you thank you thank you. i am only as good as the art and souls around me.

 

Noguchi’s Butterflies

I can not walk
I can not see
Further than what
Is in front of me
I lay on my back
yet I do not cry
Transported in space by the butterflies.

 Above my bed
Another sky
With the wings you sent
Within my sight
All pain dissolves
In another light
Transported thru
Time
By the butterfly

This little song
Came to me
Like a little gift as I stood
Beside the bed of Frida.
I give it to you with much love,

Patti Smith

 

I’ll include some pictures here from D.F., because that is the closest concrete experience that inspired this philosophical experience.

 

Endless Mexico City

Endless Mexico City

Accept the faces you actually want to make. Try not to say "omg delete that one."

Accept the faces you actually want to make. Try not to say “omg delete that one.” Derp.

Cemetery.

Cemetery.

Jaime y Lora. Yeah they some tree huggers.

Jaime y Lora. Yeah they some tree huggers.

The beauty of the lychee

The beauty of the lychee

The women who crafted our first Quesadilla Flor de Calabaza (squash flower).

The women who crafted our first Quesadilla Flor de Calabaza (squash flower).

Stop to look through the windows of a courtyard of intrigue.

Stop to look through the windows of a courtyard of intrigue.

 

mi cuerpo es su cuerpo

mi cuerpo es su cuerpo

 

finally, one more quote from a student, who I think perfectly summed up a collective dream of humans:

“#Hopes/Dreams
I come from throwing paint into a blank paper and from finding a girl by casualty who likes me enough to kiss my face, so we can go nowhere talking about nothing.”