Mortar

Some days more than other I remember England.
Those days I do remember, I remember
details that are nothing. Everything England.
The shivering rain. The numb of my tongue, burnt
from sipping chamomile tea before it had cooled.
The wind
rippling the grass like tidal waves.

I remember the longing. The points of breaking,
where my tears finally burst through the lid,
tumbling down my cheeks into hands
that shook terrified.

You don’t realize it there how it affects you.
If anything you fear you are learning nothing.
It’s when you’re home, when you have your comforts,
your lover, your chips and salsa, that you grasp it.
Your back misses the weight of your rucksack.
Your eyes miss the North Down yellowy green.

And you push the memory away.

You lay down bricks, slowly, one at a time,

mortaring them together around it,
sealing it, blocking it off from escape.
You think you can move past the summer,
that span of your time which has passed
like a barge on the Neches. You’ve hidden
yourself there, blanketed completely.

My Pilgrimage Presentation

Yesterday I presented my pilgrimage project to Lamar University. It was truly a pleasure to share the great experience I had. I tried to focus on comparing medieval pilgrims to modern ones. I’m thankful that I was selected as a Beck Fellow, and I wish all the best to the 2013 Beck Fellows as well.

I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.
I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.
The Globe!!!

The Globe!!!

The last day.
This post makes me sad with just typing the title. Also, I’m dead tired (a horrid expression) and need sleep since I have to get through the airport functioning.
My last day consisted really of three activities: (1) going to the Borough Market, (2) going to see The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe, and (3) going to Chelsea Harbour (I couldn’t resist…)
I also met great people and shared stories with them. Hostels are the most fascinating places. People of every shape and size, color and accent, and expressions (oh the wondrous expressions they make). It’s a community, built by the want to travel and explore and adventure. It’s a motley crew of ideals, mentalities, worldviews, and backgrounds. But we share love, fear, hope, joy, passion. We want to see and go. And if you listen, if you hold out your hand, if you open a door, you will find new eyes to glimpse the world through.
The Borough market was bustling with foods and drinks and sweat and laughter. The freshness of the food was absolutely delightful. The movement of everyone—constantly looking, grabbing, measuring, counting, buying—was musical.
Being in the Globe theater was once-in-a-lifetime. (Not to say I wouldn’t go again). I felt like royalty, sitting in the seats above rather than standing in the heat of the day like the groundlings. The play was brilliantly executed, from costume design to line delivery. Brilliant.
I crossed over the Thames one last time leaving the Globe, and stopped imagining myself hearing music there. But, no I wasn’t imagining music, there was a play-me piano underneath the ramp, where various musicians would sit for a moment or several and play tunes. Harmonies of the piano mixed with conversations and swishes of the river offering a new melody, never matched before.

The last day.

This post makes me sad with just typing the title. Also, I’m dead tired (a horrid expression) and need sleep since I have to get through the airport functioning.

My last day consisted really of three activities: (1) going to the Borough Market, (2) going to see The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe, and (3) going to Chelsea Harbour (I couldn’t resist…)

I also met great people and shared stories with them. Hostels are the most fascinating places. People of every shape and size, color and accent, and expressions (oh the wondrous expressions they make). It’s a community, built by the want to travel and explore and adventure. It’s a motley crew of ideals, mentalities, worldviews, and backgrounds. But we share love, fear, hope, joy, passion. We want to see and go. And if you listen, if you hold out your hand, if you open a door, you will find new eyes to glimpse the world through.

The Borough market was bustling with foods and drinks and sweat and laughter. The freshness of the food was absolutely delightful. The movement of everyone—constantly looking, grabbing, measuring, counting, buying—was musical.

Being in the Globe theater was once-in-a-lifetime. (Not to say I wouldn’t go again). I felt like royalty, sitting in the seats above rather than standing in the heat of the day like the groundlings. The play was brilliantly executed, from costume design to line delivery. Brilliant.

I crossed over the Thames one last time leaving the Globe, and stopped imagining myself hearing music there. But, no I wasn’t imagining music, there was a play-me piano underneath the ramp, where various musicians would sit for a moment or several and play tunes. Harmonies of the piano mixed with conversations and swishes of the river offering a new melody, never matched before.

Just outside my hostel is the Holland Park Opera. And I get to listen to Cosi fan tutte for free. Blessings.

brokencadences:

‘La mia Dorabella’ - Mozart (from Cosi fan tutte, Glyndebourne Festival 2006)

I can’t stop listening to this little trio - the combination of voices is just perfect.

Canterbury Cathedral

The goal of my pilgrimage. The place where countless pilgrims have traveled before to be at the shrine of Thomas Becket. Unfortunately today the shrine is no more. (During the reign of Henry VIII, he had many shrines and relics of saints removed and destroyed. Becket’s shrine was destroyed in 1538.)

Nevertheless the place is still filled with people coming to pray, repent, and kneel at the original location in the cathedral’s Trinity Chapel. You can sense the emotion   in the air. You can feel the intensity in the Martyrdom, the location where Becket was horrifically killed.

In the background you hear The Lord’s Prayer being spoken aloud. You notice the power of the words. But it is ironic in this moment. You think of what caused Becket’s death. Words.

The story goes that King Henry asked “who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” There are different versions of what he actually said, but the point is his words were taken as a command. Four knights went and fulfilled the King’s wishes (regardless of how serious or flippant the wishes were).

Words affect. We must remember this. We sometimes forget their power, but in doing so, we are foolish. Just as King Henry’s words affected his people, our words also can affect those around us. We don’t have to be eloquent speakers. We don’t have to be magnificent writers. Words are power. And we must remember. 

Inspiration
comes from anything
Anywhere.

Graffiti.
Ducks.
Poets. 

Life is what we see.
Life is what we write. 

Clever.

Clever.

(Source: random-impressions)

Trust (No) One

This post is not going to be focusing on X-Files, much to my (and maybe your) dismay. At the youth hostel in Canterbury I’ve met a collection of quirky people. In the evening everyone crowds into the lounge and watches the tele, talks about everything, and drinks a bit. It’s a great way to wind down after a long day in the city.

I spent my time talking to Robin, a interesting chap from Germany. Lucky for me, he has been backpacking for the last few weeks and using his English in the process. So I didn’t have to learn German to talk to him. I asked him if he had been putting his rucksack in a locker during the day or at night. His face filled with surprise. He felt that his bag was safe in the room, without locking it up.

He says you have to trust people. If not, there isn’t much hope in society. There’s not much hope for the future. There’s not much hope for mankind. I think it’s interesting how most people comment about the multitude of guns when I tell them I’m from Texas. Guns guns guns. I don’t mean to say everyone in Texas has guns. And I’m not going to argue about gun control and what’s right or wrong. But Robin’s point was about trust. Do we have any trust in society? Why do we feel the need to carry guns? Is it really that everyone poses a threat to us? Or that we fear the one person that does?

We all have to trust someone. If we don’t, we aren’t really living. We exist in a world full of people. These people are not altogether good. But they surely aren’t all bad either. We have to decide how we are going to treat them. Of course it will be easier when someone else trusts you first. Then all you have to do is go along with their decision. You just join in. But how about being the first to act?

While X-Files may have instructed us to “trust no one,” it suggests one contrary idea. We may not trust everyone. Hell it may be a struggle to trust one person. But   remember there’s more to people than bad. We hope there’s something more to us. We want to find something more. Something better. Something real.

I want to believe.

Importantly for me the steel does not detract from the classical human form, which remains at the core of my work. It is the juxtaposition of steel in its raw form; cold-industrial and the warm-human that my art breathes into it, that is my fascination.

First day in Canterbury!

I went and looked around a bit before the rain started.

On Faith, Religion, Art, and Dying (oh, and Immortality)

I wonder about faith these days. Faith and religion. Some say they are the same; some would argue otherwise. Being surrounded by cathedrals, churches, monuments. Religion is represented all around, as far as my eyes can see.

On my tour of Rochester cathedral, I purchased a audio tour. Basically it consists of a large walkie-talkie type gadget which tells you the history of different parts of the building and so on. At the beginning of the tour, you start from the back of the cathedral. Facing toward the altar. Seeing the grandeur of the holy place. The man on the audio tour asks what you (the listener) is feeling. Are you inspired? Do you feel the power of God? The holiness of the place?

Unfortunately I took my tour while the workers were setting up for some musical event to take place the next day. Instead of feeling God or something, I heard the clanking of metal chairs and risers being set up. It was tragically ironic. I felt not Got but man. But the work of man around me.

There are times where I wonder what my life would be like if I had grown up elsewhere. If I had been born in California. Or England. Or Pakistan. China. What religion would I have been surrounded by? What values would I have been taught? Would I still carry the same beliefs? Questions? Doubts? Thoughts that have stemmed from growing up in a small conservative town in Southeast Texas.

I think it’s easy to laugh sometimes at the views that people held in the past. Things that were considered miracles that are explained by science. People in churches today, people of faith/ of religion, have their beliefs. And some people may judge them for it. They may call religious people foolish, silly, dumb.

I can’t say who is right. I have my beliefs but that’s irrelevant. I think we all wish for something more. Something that makes life worthwhile. Meaningful. The artist, whether it be the writer, the sculptor, the painter, creates. He immortalizes himself in his work. Dylan Thomas pleads we “do not go gentle into that good night.” Percy Shelley’s “Ozymandias" tells a story of a king trying in vain to preserve himself.

The theme of death is prevalent. The fear of dying encompasses us. People wish for some way to carry on. Be it through religion. Through art. And it isn’t something to be mocked. It’s something to be noted and appreciated. We all want to survive. We just have our different ways of doing it.

Trail Mix Pix 13
Charing to Chilham

This walk was long. That’s the best way I can describe it. Long. And I surprisingly would have few pictures to show for it. My excuse would be that I spent more time walking than taking pictures. (The truth may be that I was more interesting in listening to my Les Miserables soundtrack.)