Thursday, March 5, 2009

One Art poem by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster.
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

- Even losing you (the joking voice, gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
that art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

(photo of "Plato's Garbage Pile" by Tim Noble and Sue Webster, 2002)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Public defacement or post-modern masterpieces?

When I was studying abroad (a bit of a contradiction in terms), the streets of Florence really confounded me. Even towards the end of my 6 month stay in the Renaissance city, I could still end up literally walking in a circle three times, struggling to find my photography class. I had different methods of survival:

1) Attach myself to someone who knew where the hell they were going. This would often work out beautifully. Problem was, I would be so busy blabbing to them about random things on the way there, I would never learn the way myself.

2) Before bed, I would study a map of Florence, using a thin yellow highlighter to delineate my path through the maze of cobblestones, wine bars, shrines to saints, and little pizza shacks filled with Italian teenagers. Ok, that didn't work. Turning a 2D geographical model into a real-life solution - well, not my greatest strength.

3) The winning method. Graffiti. That messy, hectic, winding explosion of lines and colors. I've always hated to see it stain a city, make it less beautiful. Less clean. Amazingly, miraculously, Italian graffitti seemed fresh and artistic. It was likely my tourist eyes, but I was drawn to each line. It's almost like the spirit of Michelangelo was wavering around the city lines, infusing each artistic expression with grace and importance. I swore by these landmarks. Picture of toothy monster? Yep, I'm three blocks from my tiny apartment on Borgo Pinti. Stenciled image of the Little Prince? If I wait until 8 pm, jazz will start issuing out of the building across the street - and it won't die down till the wine runs out. Graffitti as signposts, graffitti as something helpful and beautiful. What a novel idea - if only the Italian dog shit on the street charmed me just as much...

A First Step

Every journey begins with a single step. Same with every blog. Unlike tech-smart, new media savvy bloggers, though, my step was quite a basic one - I googled "How do I start a blog?" And here I am.

For months, I've joked about starting an underground revolution at work. It would called "Mikki's World" and it would house my latest and greatest ideas.
Well, doesn’t every blogger aim to do just that? This is why I did not want to “blog.” It seemed embarrassingly self-indulgent. But so did Facebook – and now it’s become a fun way to keep tabs on friends, watch slide shows of random pets ,and
uncover who else is addicted to Lost (“you’re gonna die, Charlie).

In short, it’s nice to have a blank canvas to fling random thoughts. If not, they will end up being written on napkins. And then I will spit my gum into it and throw it somewhere. Or I'll use it to wipe my cat's nose. Yeah, that's how I roll.