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Nov 19, 2006

Seven

Eight times I thought about it,
But I never did it.
Even when I dreamt to touch it,
I couldn’t reach it.

The first time I was a kid,
To tell my parents; it was a need,
I cried for a thousand seeds,
that some day I wouldn’t see.

Later on it was my lovely friend,
A coward bomb made us believe in hell,
After that nightmare my life changed,
Twelve years later, still so empty that jail…

Here it comes, the King of Happiness,
Best bottle, regular underwear, enjoying the casualness.
One advice: the coffin has no pockets; more is less.
Wonderful smile; devouring tumor; eternal kindness.

Three more times because things are great.
Those big nights I’ll never forget.
For my new life I couldn’t wait.
So the metamorphosis found me awake.

The Seventh Avenue is one block away.
Could be at any moment, destiny, accident or mistake.
Probably there is much more over there,
But I prefer to enjoy now, just in case.

Eight times I thought about it,
The last time: tonight while writing.
Its own existence makes possible to love this.
Next time will be while flying, or walking or running.

Sep 8, 2006

Eight

It was the last day of the week when I saw her (… and He rested). She came home with the usual smile and a t-shirt with a number stamped on it. I asked her the meaning of that. She thought about it for a few seconds… When she entered to my small room the whole place was magically as big and beautiful as Halicarnassus. I tried to open the blinds but it wasn’t necessary because her eyes illuminated me like the lighthouse of Alexandria would do. I looked at her t-shirt again. I tried to tell her something, but she sealed my lips with a delicate and private wet kiss, like in Babylon, where the water machines bring great abundance from the river, although no one outside can see it. Difference makes equality; we come from different worlds but the reflection of the Colossus tinted us with unity and love. Sweet love becomes wild and nature as Artemis at Ephesus. And her skin… soft, warm and her skin… every time I touch it I feel invincible as Zeus.

“…In his right hand a figure of Victory made from ivory and gold. In his left hand, his scepter inlaid with all metals, and an eagle perched on the sceptre. The sandals of the god are made of gold, as is his robe…” (Pausanias the Greek, 2nd century AD)

Even a tiny bed is not tiny enough but the opposite, and our bodies melt down and fuse into a compact precious stone which watches the world from the summit of Giza. We dream and walk through the streets with no need for money or great romantic dinners, because our nights and days transport us to the Nebuchadnezzar’s palace.

Maybe this is too much. Maybe we are near to cross the line where the excessive belief in one's own abilities would interfere the magic. Maybe we really desire others' status and situation. Perhaps we will soon seat at a restaurant and have an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires. And then the food won’t be enough and we will wish material wealth ignoring the realm of the spiritual. Yes, we will avoid any physical or spiritual work. Probably we are deeply craving for the pleasures of our bodies. Or if we have some day a fight, we will spurns love and opts instead for fury. Please save us with chastity, moderation, liberality, charity, meekness, zeal and humility!

The smallest number that can't be represented as a sum of fewer than four nonzero squares, the atomic number of nitrogen, the colors of the rainbow, the musical notes, the chakras, the dwarfs, the number of objects in the solar system visible to the naked eye… I still look at her t-shirt. Maybe it's only a ranking. Maybe it's only a number. Although if you ask me, if you really want to know the truth… the wonders are actually eight.

Jul 30, 2006

That New Old Black Magic

I have been living in New York for two years. At the beginning, everything was a surprise, and I couldn’t believe many things that were going on in my life with a spinning velocity. Each place of the city bringing me the memories of a film, the signs, a few celebrities in the streets, walking and walking to discover by my own what is not in the guides, every kind of artistic movement, and the peerless possibility of meeting new people every day were usual food for my soul.

After a year, I started to feel used to all that stuff. Some days I lose the sense of time or place, and I feel like I’ve been here all my life. Some other days I raised my sight and I reach the Empire State, the Chrysler, the Flatiron, the Central Park, or the Brooklyn Bridge, and I automatically remember consciously that I’m in New York. Yesterday was one of those days. I went to the “Celebrate Brooklyn” concert in Prospect Park. I went there to see an amazing band called Brooklyn Funk Essentials. I know them since 1998, and it’s not a coincidence that I used the songs “Take the L Train to Brooklyn”, and “Take the L Train to 8th Ave” to write one of my works when I applied to the film school, seeing myself taking that same train a few years later. It’s not a coincidence that yesterday the band started the show with that same songs mixed into one version. “I’m here”, I said to myself with a big smile and my heart beating fast.

What I never imagined was that after my favorite and always desired show, a little girl called Leela James could accelerate my heart and elevate my soul as just a few other times in my life. Before the first two minutes of her show she had everybody standing up and screaming as in soccer finals. That petite, so authentic that in the first song removed the heels that would have elevated her, was so sincere that she said “I came here with these heels to be fashionable and cool, but you know, I can’t walk with this”. With a similar humility she made a call to all the musicians out there to not fool people with artificial things in order to sell the soul for a record, and asked for coming back to basics. Every word, every cry, every scream was part of one of the most wonderful rituals that I ever experimented in a music show. Buddy Guy moved me to tears when he visited “mi Buenos Aires querido” and sang “Feels Like Rain” to transport me in one shot to the cotton fields. Now this misbehaving girl, bringing tears and devouring the stage and audience like James Brown, was called without exaggerating the “Godmother of Soul”. Screaming Sam Cooke’s name, Tina Turner, Chaka Chan, Marvin Gaye and many others, like the Godfather used to do when he sang “It’s a Mans’ Man’s Man’s World”.

I grew up in Argentina between Julio Sosa’s tangos and my Mom's bolero tapes performed by Maria Martha Serra Lima, which I still listen to with emotion and melancholy. But what definitely marked me to fire in the musical and inspirational world were my Dad’s LPs tinted with black blood from Quincy Jones to Ray Charles, from Mahalia Jackson to The Four Tops, from Aretha Franklin to Ella Fitzgerald. This last unique lady wrote and sang:

That old black magic has me in its spell
That old black magic that you weave so well
Icy fingers up
And down my spine
The same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine

Yesterday, that old black magic returned to the air totally renewed inside the spirit of a very young girl with the power of a hurricane, the conviction of James Brown, and the “dance & scream” of Tina Turner. Although influenced also by the hip hop culture, that old magic is intact. “I need a witness!”, she said, and everybody raised their hands moaning as in the most sacred service of the Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church in Odell Clark Place & Lenox Ave. Mature as a legend but with the innocence of a kid, she invited the audience to dance on the stage, she took a picture with them and the musicians, and another more giving the spectators her back, so everybody can be in her picture too, giving herself to everybody in a big embraceable love.

Dear Leela, young and small Godmother, old and big black magic, let me know the next time that you will be in New York, so you can give my soul back.

Jun 8, 2006

Sequence Shot

I have a dream: I want to be a famous filmmaker. I take my Canon S400 digital still camera that I bought three years ago, and I go out to the street. I turn it on, and I put it in video mode. I start shooting my first experimental film. It’s the extreme of ultra-low-budget independent filmmaking. I turn left in 20th Street and I walk toward 9th Ave. I point with my camera to the sidewalk and I capture on screen my own feet walking. While seconds go by, I elevate the camera angle one more degree. I am in the middle of the block shooting the trees, the houses and some passers-by. I never stop shooting. The abrupt movements make this film more real. I never stop elevating the camera angle. I am close to the corner, concentrated on the screen. I hear the traffic but I can’t stop recording. I feel the fear, but I say to myself that a filmmaker must have no fear. I see the rooftops on screen while the clarity of 9th Ave. hit my face. A “Just Do It” sign is the last thing I catch from the civilization. The sky is blue with no clouds. I know that he listened to the honk. I even screamed to him, but I couldn’t stop the damn car. I’m not sure if the brakes were broken, or maybe I was confident that he wouldn’t cross with the red lights. I thought he was a professional stunt, because the crash felt so real. He flew like ten steps. I’m sure that the images will be impacting. The camera had zero damages. You know, it was an “Ewa-Marine” underwater with a Panasonic GX-7 digital camcorder that they use in the low-budget movies. So, the camera was protected against the shocks. Although I don’t know why he was using those kinds of accessories out of water. His car is being repainted, because after hitting him, he lost the control of the vehicle, and he also hit a pole just in the corner. The scene is very real, although I need a second take. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time yesterday, and today it’s raining like frogs falling from Magnolia’s sky. And yesterday it was so sunny… We have the 16 mm Bolex loaded with a 50D, so even if we have to shoot interior, we should mess up things unloading and loading again with another stock, and film stocks are so expensive. The last thing that could happen now is if the motor breaks and we need to wind the spring again. Oh, dear Murphy’s Law. It’s the last scene. Everything has been shot. I will take advantage to sleep like a baby. But I guess that he won’t sleep at all. The rest of the crew is resting, but I can’t stop thinking. The accident was so real. I know that I planned everything. I’m even the writer. I know… but it was “too” real. The cinematographer told me that he couldn’t take his face because it was so fast. And he also thinks that the camera shook up when he flew against us. Maybe he hit our ARRI Super 16mm film camera. Will be a fortune to replace it. I think we must be bordering one million. I can’t deal with accidents. I thought I could, but it exceeds me. I’m scared of asking what happened with them. Maybe there were casualties. I won’t recover from that. In case some of that crap happened, I’m not answering the phone. But I have a lot of missed calls and I wonder where the hell they are! His wife is not answering either. He’s not at his home. He’s not in the coffee shop. He didn’t appear in our production offices. Why the hell I entered in this insane business? Without the last scene there is no damned movie. If it’s for me I print a final copy with this scene. I told them that with that “breakthrough” realism we could actually convince the audience automatically, and even better the rest of producers. It’s an uncut diamond. A revelation… it’s like an explicit sexual scene between Madonna and Drew Barrymore. Well, that’s not a good example, but you got it. Why I never learnt about cameras? If somebody could help me getting the film from that damned Panasonic… I only know that it’s a 35mm camera. They’re so egoist. They always need a second take. Of course, it isn’t their money. It’s about my bloody millions! I wish it was a dream.