Das Wort, von dem du Abschied nahmst, heisst dich am Tor wilkommen,
und was dich hat hier gestreift hat, Halm und Herz und Blume,
ist längst dor Gast und streift dich nimmermehr.
Paul Celan, Die Feste Burg
...You see, I will unhesitatingly-- shamelessly!-- admit I'm the wrong man for the job. Perfectionist & detail oriented, it takes me too long to figure out what I feel, think, or truly care about under a given set of circumstances-- much longer still to manage passably coherent statements about whatever does eventually-- or suddenly, surprisingly, ganz plötzlich!-- arouse my passion--
So I pad my damp trench with books, papers, & souvenirs to pace in muffled shadow & hold the fort for sudden death, crouching down to restlessly nap in the leaky, crumbling modernist nightmare my Mama Pajama's dream house became on Dr.Dad's strict budget: thirty-five thousand 1971 dollars, with endless interest paid over & over by the heart's flowering stalk.
I toast recent losses & save the empty bottles after taking the occasional tasting note.
Among significant deaths around the year's Winter turn-- Harold Pinter, Bettie Page, local expat restaurateur Joe Rao & producer, actor, media entrepreneur Tommy Muñiz, -- I am most recently & personally in mourning these days for Daniel Nagrin, an insufficiently recognised force of American dance. He was one of the inspirations I was at once too proud & too insecure to become a student of...
Somewhat uncharacteristically, the big impression he made on me was not as a dancer, but with his own adaptation of 'The Fall' by Albert Camus staged as a monologue. I had only recently moved to New York, & it was former high school classmate Héctor Huyke who urged me to go see the piece with him...
It seems Mr. Nagrin died the very day after I went through this:
I spent a sleepless, restless night in cabin 9 at the Riverside Campgound in Big Sur, breathing deep, trying to relax, shutting my eyes against the grey dawn that crept over the steep, burnt-out slopes of the Santa Lucia Range on December 28, Feast of the Holy Innocents. An overhwelming sense of failure washed over me. The suggestion came to mind there was absolutely nothing left for it but to buckle up into my rental & drive off one of the unprotected hairpin turns at speed, drawing a final arc into the darkly glimmering Pacific below. My life had already pretty much fallen off a cliff, why not make a statement of literalizing the emotion? A voice in my head rehearsed the line, 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished' over & over as I tossed & turned, anxiety building with the pressure to act...
The upshot of it was I'd spent something like my year's expenses (near 10,000 bucks or so, if you must know) on ten weeks knocking about California, achieving absolutely nothing of what I'd set out to do.
(...no inexpensive, uncomplicated way to bring back to Puerto Rico any of the wine I've accumulated through my participation in Crushpad projects or visits to wineries...more worryingly, no ground gained in my search for an importing partner for the 150 plus cases of Argentinian wine I made a handshake deal with Alberto Cecchin on, no label or logo design, nothing, nothing...)