Artistic practice as an act of devotion.
Here is a riddle, one said.
And who do you think you are? asked another.
Only a servant. He was making films. The answer is unimportant.
Why ask, then?
There is a code in here somewhere. It is the mystery.
The usual ones: possibilities of transcendence, rebirth, levels of existence. The role of ritual practice.
Such as this one. Right now, I am filming a liturgical text. Contemplating the sacred frame by frame, but I am just beginning. He had been at it three decades.
Are you praying, then?
I call it excavation. I am a social worker with a background in archaeology.
The idea is to resuscitate the present. This is my devotion.
Inspired by an interview I read this morning, in BOMB magazine, with the filmmaker Ashish Avikunthak.
Commonplace reminders on being.
Golden yarrow, fledgling web, congregations of clover refusing to quit. These dishes again, and the pot left soaking overnight. Pan, too. Basket of laundry, ever renewing, and this list. This ache in my temples to remind me what I took for granted just last week, like the fluttering chest and sore neck. Sleeping cat in the chair, beside a small collection of beach rocks, at least one of which is concrete, gathered how many years ago? By still-dimpled hands, with calm assurance reaching up, saying Here. Hawk on streetlight, coyote in yard, dog panting on rug, legs splayed forward and back, trail of pawprints between the door and where she is now, looking up. This trio of men at the park in boxing gloves and sweatpants and the youngest must be at least sixty-eight. They run in circles, punch pads and one another’s gloves, punch trees and the trees hold still. One among them is the coach and when he’s not cussing a blue streak he’s shouting, C’mon, that don’t matter! Whaddya doin?! No, look! Up, up, up!