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JULY   2002 

Air Signs
Mixed-media installation
Helena Davis Gallery

July 5-28, 2002

Opening Reception
Friday, July 5, 7:00-10:00pm

But I am washed beyond any awareness of not caring at all or caring more than ever because now I am terrifically within an edge---feeling fiercely the idea of being aroused, or at least enchanted by the risk of using only one beginning to speak about pairing in this world---this world that is part of that larger and less familiar sway of space.

So what enormously honest bodies we whisper with each day. And a body becomes no more manageable and no less necessary by naming smaller pieces as not all lips expect the word 'love' in the same ordinary way. Love sometimes looks like unhurried birdwings. And longing sometimes looks like impatient fingers.

Or even the sleeping shape of an ear. And everyone is powerless, always, against the possibility of being alone. Aging is not formless. Aging alone is not formless, but a pair, aging together risks formlessness if neither one realizes that they can use---that they deserve to use---the word 'love,' sometimes. Formlessness is needing to say one word, but using another, not with the intention of translation, but instead because the first felt either too private or too public or too helpless.

Only at first would it be a relief for anyone---me or you or me and you together---to rest from the urgency of being in this life, on this globe, in this space. Urgency makes passion compelling at once---from all sides, from all edges---by the histories and the stories of formed accusations and many many singular regrets. Suddenly, there is an incredible filling freedom to know that no one counts exactly alike---that most of an audience may not even listen to any of your sounds. Suddenly this time can be like a pink corner---feeling crowded, believing it will outgrow the space of an eye---and despite it all, vanishes nightly, astonished and breathless.

(Part of Rilke's Ninth Elegy. I imagine, that later, it should feel like more of a necessity and less of an interruption.
'Perhaps we are here in order to say: house,
bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window---
at most: column tower....But to say them, you must understand,
to say them more intensely than the Things themselves
ever dreamed of existing. Isn't the secret intent
of this taciturn earth, when it forces lovers together,
that inside their boundless emotion all things may shudder with joy?
Threshold: what it means for two lovers
to be wearing down, imperceptibly, the ancient threshold of their door---
they too, after the many who came before them
and before those to come...., lightly.

Here is the time for the sayable, here is its homeland.
Speak and bear witness. More than ever
the Things that we might experience are vanishing, for
what crowds them out and replaces them is an imageless act.
Act under a shell, which easily cracks open as soon as
the business inside outgrows it and seeks new limits.
Between the hammers our heart
endures, just as the tongue does
between the teeth and, despite that,
still is able to praise.')

Truth-telling is strange. Storing secrets is equally strange. Bits of stories and histories have already unfolded to relevance and reverence and sensitivity. The story of sensibility is also the history of a piece of dryer lint because dryer lint is the perfect example of embodied experience. Locating the edge of dryer lint is like trying to locate the edge of a howl. It is so completely true---such an essence---that it doesn't need any edge. So here is one edge of the history of most dryer lint. Most dryer lint started moist. But not from weeping.

I know nothing but I have two observations. First: some lips rest open, some lips rest closed. Two: pillowcases are sold in pairs all over this difficult world.

--Ann Marshall

Look, it's life. Hearts dangle by strings in visual
Ryhthm, love spills from aorta to floor
Forming rivulets, once sensual
Too many too many too many more
Fall from stomaches throbbing like stars without
The body aroused -- are you listening?
Paper slipcovers cling to these bodies about
To awaken with silenced words breathing
Alone. Your name goes here. And this begins,
Some strokes gone already, stifled by other strokes
That might have been. I look ever closer. Again,
Everything returns imagination.
And maybe rhythm was something to hold,
It was almost, bodies break, it unfolds.

-- Ann Marshall


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