Did this 👇painting last year, after seeing Souza’s Christ( see below 2nd painting for also, his grand son’s Street graffiti of Goan woman praying?)
Art is a language all it’s own. When I’m silenced from society and ask myself what I’m at, is when Painting kicks in. It’s like dancing for me, or cooking a designer meal. It’s my dialect. There’s grace, disgrace, pain, hopeless hope.
Today, Palm Sunday and India and everywhere potentially exploding with Covid, or not…. it’s that kind of day again I’m looking within. Some call it prayer,
you can label it, morph it, strip it down, it’s still the fact of reaching out to the One that made me: the Act of Love that consummates my presence here, the Fact of His Life…. when I think of that, there is little else that overcomes. And I need some overcoming, Now.
Am grateful for the Gifts we are given at this time. Gifts that say it better than we might. These are the Journals of our Times. These are the trails we leave behind, our blood prints that might be a new kind of beautiful for generations to follow. What we are at.. in the Now, matters. These emotions, questions, they capture human responses, and sometimes responses are all we’ve got to secure our eternities.
Souza captures Christ with that Palm Leaf; you might call it grotesque almost, but this is how pain looks in any given century.
His grandson’s Graffiti details the folded palms of a Goan woman. What’s she asking? What are we asking. globally, individually: are there immediate answers, is there Beauty in the Ashes of hopes, prayers and dreams,
what’s Christ got to do with contemporary existence, does God care I may ask. What do we do now:
what is this that causes peace when I pause, lean, go still…. my emotional palms folding in,
is Humanity beautiful when we are most vulnerable,
do we ask questions of immortality, here, like this, now,
Life wasn’t ever permanent. Now maybe is all we’ve got.
The girl with mud thick eyes? I met her across from where we were 3 floors above, she walked that place like a tigress, she stalked my face every noon as I waited for the school bus. Our daughter was 5, I wanted to shield her from the girls’ eyes, eyes like a well with no spring, just dank dark mud falling in, the street girl I always call her even after all these years, she follows me lane after lane, after we shifted cities and states, staring at me like I must know a piece of her life, know what it feels like not to have a ‘legal life’, not have a housekey and address.
Why think of her now, it is years and years gone, she must be so much older, does she still wear mascara all down the sides of her eyes and gaudy pink lipstick smeared as if with hatred. The last time I saw her she spat at the ground around a dwarf tree bursting with a reddish flower I dont know its name: she was angry and swollen in her jaw. My daughter got off the school bus and ran into me crying about a bruise she got at play. I gathered little Dia in my arms, the girl leaned on the tree, her eyes not leaving us. Today was different, her stare volatile, as if all this was my fault.
I turned away, my little one’s bag in other arm.
The street girl’s stare bored into my back. I didn’t want to, I shouldn’t have, but I turned around and she was there, not smiling, just looking on with a sadness now, and I’ve no name for that kind of sadness.
Today, I wonder where that girl is; she and our millions, in streets and homes not necessarily kind. Poverty is more than lack of money, it is an entire lack of security. We all must go thru’ this Corona crisis, and I cannot imagine doing that without some kind of security, even if the end is near for some of us. We are worried sick and sad and afraid and alone in more ways than I can know to say, but soul aloneness, abuse.… how do you cope with that? If I could write a letter, pack a meal, anything possible to actually do…. that be great. What I cannot stomach is Humans like that Street Girl with no place like a home, not even in her living memory, no sense of self respect, just abuse and naked eye-hunger. … I cannot come to terms with Us having to live like that.
Physical hunger, death, illness, loneliness. ..it visits us some way or the other. But there are people in our streets, in dwellings between our streets, within closed doors maybe, nice quilt and food or not,
our Streets wear/ bear the feet of the most abused Decade of all. This season, as we approach Good Friday & Easter, I pray that in the throes of ‘Rona and all its lethal activity, we will search the routes between us all, for Hungry Eyes.
What can we do? I do not know. We are at our creative best when we are hurting:
if I met my Street girl now, what’d I do? Maybe I’d…..uh… unsure. I’d think hard, discuss with a trusted other what could be done to reach out across the chasm between strata of society, across taboo and fear. I didnot even look at her because I was afraid. I’m as afraid to cross streets, even my quieter street here where we live, am terrified of traffic. Lived here all my life and yes, I am. Can’t cross the street. But our streets are certified insane, some of them. Ours have Wheelies, dizzy fourwheelers, fearless Scooterists also doing wheelies….now it’s all empty, so quiet you don’t hear a honk.
In the silence of This, I’m asking for ways to reach out to humans, yeah yeah Social Distancing et al.
Often a smile would be almost enough, oh even with our eyes, now that we have masks. Our 19year son is blind and can smile with his entire being when he wants to. I’m still learning how to do that,
learning to want to pray with all my being for all of us everywhere to taste the love of God that transcends all borders, true Love that can transfigure (ah ‘Traject!’ ..new word Post Covid), us into dimensions we never knew we had just for having Him as Support. It can make us do things for each other we’d never have stopped to do. Even the heart to pray for people right across our lane.
I believe that more than ever before, this season. The power of prayer to heal the human spirit in our homes, in our streets.