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Posts Tagged ‘Pablo Neruda’

Updated March 15

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Homeless man reading. March 11, 2011.

For about a year, I have been lackadaisically documenting street conditions in San Diego.
The paranoia towards publicly shared space, the  ordinances (no sitting allowed, no loitering), the lack of benches. Downtown San Diego is the antithesis of porosity, a built environment that refuses to be interacted with. We purchase community: getting out your billfold is the only way to experience publicness. Ok. So there is Seaport Village…but that is not the streets….urban San Diego.

On the street of the America’s Finest City on any given night you find first and third world country sharing the sidewalk (sorry am I being un-PC? I meant developing country.)

I refrained from taking photos of homeless people until now, out of respect. But yesterday I learned that politeness can be the opposite of sincerity.
The work of an artist/flaneur is (also) to look at things most people gloss over, or willingly ignore. We are walking bookmarks. So tonight I asked this man what he was reading. ‘Science fiction’ he said. ‘It was originally published in 1952.’

:: :: ::
Later on that evening

Yoga class having come and gone (again), I will take a page from Neruda the Brazilian writer Martha Medeiros and stop going home the same route. I will sit for an apple mint sheesha (hookah, as it’s known here) and purchase me some people time.

:: :: ::
Later on that week….

This is ‘Dies Slowly’ or ‘Muere Lentamente’, a poem misattributed to Pablo Neruda, from the original ‘A Morte Devagar’ by Martha Medeiros:

The poem and the English version which follows – and which I slightly modified – come from this blog

Muere lentamente quien se transforma en esclavo del hábito, repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos, quien no cambia de marca, no arriesga vestir un color nuevo y nole habla a quien no conoce.

Muere lentamente quien evita una pasión, quien prefiere el negro sobre blanco y los puntos sobres las “ies” a un remolino de emociones, justamente las que rescatan el brillo de los ojos, sonrisas delos bostezos, corazones a los tropiezos y sentimientos.

Muere lentamente quien no voltea la mesa cuando está infeliz en el trabajo, quien no arriesga lo cierto por lo incierto para ir detrás de un sueño, quien no se permite porlo menos una vez en la vida, huir de los consejos sensatos.

Muere lentamente quien no viaja, quien no lee, quien no oye música, quien no encuentra gracia en sí mismo.

Muere lentamente quien destruye su amor propio, quien nose deja ayudar.

Muere lentamente quien pasa los días quejándose de sumala suerte o de la lluvia incesante.

Muere lentamente quien abandona un proyecto antes deiniciarlo, no preguntando de un asunto que desconoce o norespondiendo cuando le indagan sobre algo que sabe.

Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas, recordando siempre que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor que elsimple hecho de respirar.

Solamente la ardiente paciencia hará que conquistemos una espléndida felicidad.

He dies a slow death who becomes a slave to habit, repeating everyday the same paths, who doesn’t change the mark he leaves, won’t risk wearing a new color, nor talk to people he doesn’t know.

He dies a slow death who avoids passion, who prefers black to white and dotted i’s over a whirlwind of emotions,especially those that make the eyes sparkle , rescue smiles from yawns, hearts clumsy with feelings.

He dies a slow death who doesn’t upend the table when he is unhappy at work, who won’t risk a sure thing for the uncertainty behind a dream, who won’t allow himself, at least once in his life, to flee from sensible advice.

He dies a slow death who doesn’t travel, nor read, nor hear music, who doesn’t laugh at himself.

He dies a slow death who destroys self-love, who won’t let himself be helped.

He dies a slow death who spends his days complaining of his bad luck or of the neverending rain.

He dies a slow death who quits a project before starting it, not asking about what he doesn’t know, or not answering when asked about something he does know.

Let us avoid death in gentle doses, remembering always that being alive demands an effort much greater than the simple act of breathing.

Only burning patience will allow us to conquer
a splendid happiness.

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Child's Pose | Thank you

Yoga is moving meditation. Feel your body melt on the ground. Feel your muscles, your bones dissolving into the ground. Be thankful for this time. The gratitude you feel spreads from your heart to your entire being, and radiates towards everyone around you.

Mercedes, Yoga instructor and, apparently, Rockstar in a band- I attended her class for the first time today.

I went to yoga today to plug out: I have been spending too many hours tethered to my computer and needed a retreat. The gym worked for that today, but I am hoping to spend some times, soon, away from technology in places like Yosemite, Sequoia National Park and, perhaps, Napa Valley. It is apparent that I failed at the NaBloPoMo self-challenge, missed too many days -like this weekend- and yet realize that blogging everyday is not my style, and have come to accept the fact that pauses result in epiphanies which can push inspiration forward. Nevertheless I do like to post aoften to show up to my day, art, intellect, just as I would like to make a habit of yoga to practice the mindfulness of the body.  The solitude after yoga practice  makes me realize many things, for example how infinitely precious moments with loved ones are, moments we take for granted. As I walked home tonight, looking at the night sky  I thought about Pablo Neruda, and his lines :

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry void,
likeness, image of mystery,
I felt myself a pure part of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars;
my heart broke loose on the open sky.

From ‘Poetry’

How the sky would be with no stars, because that is how life is without the love of the people we care about….

So i frightened myself, and I can hear my friend Lamees that ‘frightening’ ourselves is good, for it wakes us up.  Awake means aware.  I resolve every day, like most of us, I’m sure,  to be a better person, yet fail and sometimes lose myself in petty feelings. A friend of mine told me that he heard from a wise, humble man to ‘just do one thing better today than you did yesterday’. So today I went to Yoga,  my way to tune in, because I am not there yet as far as daily meditation. Tuning in means more sun, but, sometimes, more rain.

I chanced upon a quote I like very much (I am kind of ashamed to say where I got it)

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

I hear the music, do you?

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image via Octogon (Design and Architecture online from Budapest)


So here it happens, the siren of Architecture called, and I heeded.

Nay, I relinquished.

Architecture, that capricious muse, finally seeps in my art chamber- yet how could I have kept it at bay?

Architecture is, indeed, frozen music.

If this building was music, what song/genre would it be?

Sir Barry says that some architects of the Baroque era literally applied to their designs harmonic ratios learned from musical intervals and harmonic relations between notes.

I always thought Baroque was the music closest to the act of creating, to perfect mathematical equations, the music of the cosmos. Fractals’ music. Baroque and its clavichords is what I am listening to right now, as I finish a 3D digital model. The model dances and takes form. Digital sculpture.

You must pardon if I wax poetic. I just finished ‘Death in Venice’ and my heart is full of poetry tonight.

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