Sunday, January 29, 2012

 So, I’m looking at the expression of the kid my grandfather’s holding in the photograph, and I’d like to write that there’s nothing in the kid’s expression, nothing in his eyes, that shows that he has any idea, any anticipation of the life of dark and the illusion of light that’s about to grab him and throw him into it’s turbulence.  But, you know, I’m not sure, I’m not convinced it’s not all there, in his eyes.  I mean cold winters with broken glass and an unstable mother, and a father in prison.  I mean the thrill (still resurfacing, constantly in dreams) of thinking with your body while playing soccer, or the girls, of the first kisses, the electricity of the surprise of her tongue in the back of your mouth, of the knife fights and art school and radical politics, and the radical politics in the art, and Algeria, and India, and Mozambique and prison and poetry, Nancy and Leijia and friends for life and music - Jack, Astor, Don, Robby, Milton, Robby, Carlos, Michel, Scott, Negro, Brandon, Fernando, Ritchard, Xio, Triff, more... -  and moments of terror and the constant promise of light and liberation in music.  And the constant promise of an order formed by music re-imagining itself into the aural image of the anger and turbulent, insatiable movement of the heart.  I’m not sure it’s not all there in the kid’s eyes, not only picturing the future events but, without being able to understand it, seeing the events unfold in the oncoming life, as well as seeing his participation, no, really his initiation of most of them...  His comfort in the dark.  I don’t remember being behind those eyes, I just remember the photo being taken on Fordham Road.  

My grandfather’s eyes are a little bit easier for me to read, I lived with him and we lived through each other, in a way, for the strongest periods of my childhood.  In his eyes I can see the Marxist, worker’s utopia he’d worked for all his life recede from the possibility of ever happening in his lifetime - like Jack's memory of his father's eyes? -, I can see his ironic resignation to living in his anger at the way capital mediates human relations and his resignation to living the rest of his life in The Bronx, on the outskirts off the heart of the forces he’d been disgusted by for his whole life.  I don’t see the bitterness of the —— but just of a comfortable home of anger and humor he’d made, and profitable habits he’d built, in his life, and expected death, in perpetual exile.  Well he’d gotten out of Samarkand, the city of his birth and the city of his hated memory of underdevelopment.  The American flag (the photographer gave me as a prop?) must have made him laugh, and there’s a serenity and joy in his comfortable eyes of anger.  

-Kip Hanrahan

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