The god of doorways

On Saturday November 8th, 2009 I was well into my second-day plunge into the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan and I was adamantly decided on learning everything. I could, as I’d intended to back in ’91, age 11, to see and hear and read everything, go everywhere. Back in ’91 my mother stood Sphinxlike at the end of the sarcophagi and told me it was time to go back to the hotel— a change of millennium duly leaped and some loss of hair later, and such time stopped being the issue—

——— there was ——— there was, well, everything, of course ——— but there was also my going out of this exhibit of rare Japanese Katana samurai blades just flown in from Japan, and wandering just a tad from aimlessly across content-rich aisles, isles ——— and stumbling upon Robert Frank’s The Americans lining up wall upon wall in an exhibition of its own ——— the black and white-ness of it, the gelatin prints of people and places and a time and a zeitgeist all its own, now relegated to the haunting of in-between the covers of oversized hardcovers, etc. And the intro bit from Jack Kerouac, of course.

I wish it could go on forever, I remember thinking. I thought I was thinking of the exhibit per se but then later on I had this weird, weird notion that maybe— just maybe, for a split-second— I was echoing the prayers of an entire generation, this mythical idea that a country had of itself once upon a time, now long since fading-out, to black.

(Then later on I went to see Springsteen play MSG, for the second night in a row, the very endpoint of my sliding across time)

The day before I’d gone to the Guggenheim for this amazing exhibition of Kandinsky’s works: The pieces started out at the bottom of the ramp and evolved chronologically as you climbed upwards: Association to music, Bauhaus, the war, etc— the old country, see, directly the opposite of the whole thing at first glance but no, not really, we’re still talking of time passing and perceptions shifting— and it’d given me this real crazy notion, an idea, that if I walked up the ramp very slowly and paid attention to everything, let all content sink in, absorb, learn everything, cramming everything I could in my head just like when you’re 15 and you’re attempting to memorize the entire Chemistry textbook before the midterms because you’d pretty much slouched the months before— and when I reached the end of the exhibit at the top of the ramp I’d dash back to ground level real fast and just take potshot glances at the paintings and try to remember it all just as everything I’d just learned about the artist started to sublimate off my head— exactly like it would happen when you started taking the Chemistry test back in High School, all the whitening out where before a few minutes there was fertile, colors blending, abundant content, all the palettes fading to white—

First there’s black and white and then there’s a burst of colors and forms and shapes and then there’s only blank and you realize time’s up, you’ve reached a wall, time to go back, time to white out, no time at all but some things do stay with you forever— Bruuuuuce!— case in point.

There’s always the road back and there’s the road ahead and there’s always the road not taken: But always the road, always there, just about to take you somewhere—

Consider that the only permanent element in your life is the medium in-between states.