Tuesday, October 13, 2009
nothing is real
On December 8th 1980 I was getting ready for a really hot date (Im not sure what I mean about getting ready) but I was doing what boys do before a date (still not sure?) It was one of those sharp cool nights in New york city where everything seem to look and feel good. I was living on 59th and 1st in a very nice apartment lent to me by a very nice friend (I love to use the word 'nice' twice in a sentence). The apartment was full of my paintings and more paintings (what a shock) all leaning against every wall. Brushes all clean and showing off there new haircuts. Sketches on the floor (doing what sketches do) and the smell of hope in every tube of oil paint. It could not have been more of an artist studio, even if MGM had set it up.I had just finished a series of paintings and was feeling good....very good in fact. With the prospect of a beautiful woman coming to visit and with all my work behind me for at least 5 minutes. I was ready to turn on the charm and maybe the shower (maybe even both). She called me and told me traffic was bad and that she would be a little late. When she arrived, it was a little later than I would have wanted(I hadnt slept the night before but I was young). She brought the cold air in with her beauty and explained how thing were a chaos on the upper west side. I hung on to every word like she was reciting poetry. she was more beautiful than I had remembered from the party. I poured her a drink as she continued to give me a traffic report. As I was sipping my wine she casually said that Yoko Ono had been shot .I thought I hadn't heard right 'What' I said, 'Yes the japanese woman married to that Beatle had been shot, but she was o.k.' Then she continued on about the traffic. I ran to the other room to get my little radio (I didn't have a T.V ) the batteries were nearly dead, so the story kept fading in and out. The man on the radio sounded somber. 'Reports are coming in that Yoko has been shot to death and that John was just wounded' I took a very deep breathe. He went on to say they didn't have the full story .......I pressed the radio tightly against my ear to try a hear better, while My date started to nibble on my other ear.I pulled away from her and motioned to her that I had to hear the story. Then the worst news came through. Delivered it in a low tone ,slowly and precise he said 'At 11.21 p.m. John Lennon was pronounced dead'............................... At 11.22 my date wanted to make out. I said I couldn't .I said I was numb, I said I have just died inside.I said this is really sad news. She told me to not be so dramatic. 'Its only a singer and a washed up one at that'. I was too numb to really respond.I told her it would be best to leave. I told her things wouldn't work out. I told her I was devastated and I really needed to be alone. She made one more last attempt to win me over, but her beauty had turned to ugly in a split second.I don't remember her leaving but I do remember sitting on the corner of my bed all night and most of the next day.I remember thinking what was the point of anything.I remember thinking this news was far too personal to share with a strange woman who didn't seem affected at all by the news.I remember calling my mother.I remember I cried and couldn't stop.I remember she said I would get over it. I remember thinking what does that mean ' Get over it'
Last friday was John Lennons birthday. He would have been 69.I suppose it was the closest I ever came to having a Hero.
I like to float on my back in the warm womb-like pool in Miami. I like to look at all the stars.I like to think about how big the universe is.I like to think about how huge the entire solar system and beyond is.I like to think this because It makes me feel small.No! correction! It makes me feel like I don't exist, and the truth is (in the big picture) I don't. I cant. Im so small (we all are) Compared to what's out there we are all nothing.Zero. This feeling use to scare me but now it makes me feel good.It makes me feel like nothing is that important...NOTHING! How can it be, Im smaller than a speck of dust. Smaller in fact. This doesn't mean that I don't do my best with my art or try to be nice to people, I do. But it puts everything beautifully into perspective.Recession, Mortgage payments, traffic tickets,toothaches, delayed flights, bad drivers, Assholes. Im nothing and it makes me feel good. Perspective!
I like to float on my back, in the dream-like state under the stars in Miami, because I don't exist.
Last friday was John Lennons birthday, he would have been sixty nine.He was the closest I ever came to having a hero. Happy birthday John.
P.S. The photo above Isn't me...It's John Lennon....I just happen to have an identical photo.