The rain is coming down hard outside. I have been staring out my window wondering about how it all happens? My bones are a bit achy from too much sleep and there is a gentle irregular throb in my chest. I am a sensitive man who feels the weight of the world. At least I hope this is true. Disappointment
The phone rang and for some reason I answered. I was just thinking about masturbating but instead I found myself talking to my mother. She asked me in her tender vernacular if I wanted to join her to the museum. I was hesitant, but since I was unemployed and sitting around thinking too much, I told her I’d meet her there at noon.
I took the train into the city and stopped at a small tavern where I quickly drank down a couple of scotches. When I left the joint I could feel the stench of booze coming out from under my arm pits. Had I forgotten to shower? I walked hurriedly through the rain which was as relentless as my conscience. I was tempted to smoke but I did not want to upset my mother with the lingering scent- I promised her last year that I had muscled my way through the habit for good.
When I arrived at the museum entrance my mother was waiting for me with ticket in hand. My mother was like a like a life preserver in rough waters. She was the only island I had to rest upon. We walked arm in arm through the annals of art and observed many paintings and sculptures that I found less interesting than the walls that they hung upon. The Rothko and Klien paintings that made my mothers head spin in fits of passion, gave me an uneasy feeling in my stomach. She celebrated a painting by Modigliani which only stimulated in me an erection. I became bored quickly and asked her if we could go down to the cafe and get a cup of coffee. She said, I thought coffee makes your heart palpitate. It does, I replied, it’s the only time I feel alive.
We walked down stairs past sculptures by Hans Arp that I found fairly appealing- but I was put off by the whole idea. In the cafe my mother said, but you are an artis, how can you not like art? It’s not that I don’t like art, I just find it boring. There is something about hanging a man’s painting on a wall to be seen by strangers that does not sit right with me. I don’t understand son? I was having some difficulty breathing, the air in the cafe was stiff. All the museum goers and academics and culture whores stuffed in a small cafe on a rainy day having serious conversations about nothing important. I could feel my heart palpitating. Good coffee.
Daniel, how are you ever going to make a living as a painter if you do not show your work? My mother was concerned and I understood. I was 39 years old and without a job. The shoes on my feet were three years old and I had not the will to gather the money to spend on new shoes. These things were unimportant. I paint because I got to, I told my mother. I do it for no other reason than that. If I did not paint I would die. Painting is a physicaal process for me, much like the beating of my heart…it keeps me alive. I am not painting for any other reason and I believe that any art that is created with the intention of making a buck or being recognized aint worth the canvas it conceals. My mother looked dissapointed. Now look, I continued, if you want to hang my work on a wall after I am dead this is fine, but it is not my intention. My intention is to paint, to make art…..this is what I do. I aint got a clue how I am going to make a living, but thats alright. Its all part of the journey…..keeps art from becoming boring. The moment you put it in a museum, it looses its life.
I kissed my disappointed mother good bye. I was sad that I could not make her happy. Why can’t we all just be happy since sooner or later we will all be dust, I thought as I walked through the rain. I stoped back in at the tavern and drank another scotch. After I spent my money on the train ride home I was broke. I spent the rest of my night sitting on my couch, staring at the blank white wall in my studio apartment. I listened to the same Goldberg Variations performed by Glenn Gould over and over on my radio. Next door the the tenant who was always crying was still crying. The rain stopped outside but I didn’t care- I wasn’t going anywhere.