November 1, 2014
The first thing I see when I wake up in the morning is my window and the tree that is out there. I worry about that tree, because if it disappears it will change my life. Also I can’t properly sleep at night, unless I gaze at the same image. For most people the lighting at night would disturb their sleep, but for me, I feel a sense of security knowing that the streetlight will be there, and as usual, reflecting on the tree - which also gives it a certain amount of dimension, that is almost 3D like. It’s very beautiful. Therefore I often think about the tree and worry about its existence. When Gaza was under attack, the first thing I worried about was the plantation or its trees. The second concern was the architecture. If I was living there, I think I would be very disturbed to realize that a tree that was once there, no longer exists. That for me, would be worse than a human life dying. Therefore one can imagine how horrible I felt when I came back from a long trip, to discover that tree was now gone.
Not only that, but new graffiti on the staircase that leads to Fletcher and Glendale. It is not just the words on the stairs that I find disturbing, but also the paint color. It is totally wrong aesthetically, and it doesn’t make any sense to me why someone would do something like that. What is it that makes a human being write something on a piece of property that they don’t own? Concrete itself is quite beautiful. The fact that these stairs were built sometime in the 1920s, the purpose being of course for people to easily get to the red car station that was once there. Or to walk down to Fletcher and Riverside or Glendale Boulevard. When you see concrete it is almost a zen beauty - in that it is nothing, yet everything. Once you paint it or worse, add letters, it becomes defined as a singular object. It just serves as a background for one’s phrases or markings. Without the graffiti, the concrete becomes something more. Now when I walk down or up those staircases, I’m exposed to that person’s (the one who did the graffiti) point of view, or even worse, their feelings that they own the spot. The beauty of a public stairway is that no one owns it. Therefore you are expected to share it - which means it should be totally blank and utilize for the purpose of getting from “A” to “B” without thinking of the aesthetic of the staircase.
The combination of the tree that is currently missing, as well as the marked-up staircase, well, I can’t live here anymore. I feel totally violated and the only thing that soothes my battered soul is the music of Victoria de los Ángeles, singing “Bachiana brasileira no 5.” If that is gone, then I would shoot myself, but not before turning the gun on to whoever spray painted the steps. I often swing from contentment to disturb violence - the fear I have is when my contentment becomes or accepts violence. Lately I have been admiring the beauty of the gun. The fact that such an instrument of such precision machinery can cause such horrifying results - well, it makes my head spin.
“All philosophers must, therefore, doff their hats to the poets when they discover that the path of reason takes them only so far.” I have been writing poetry throughout my life, and now I have stopped, due to the removal of the tree as well as the surroundings around my property that has been altered by those who don’t live here. A sense of place, and the need to accept one’s ability to be in that place is important. Now that has been altered by someone who clearly likes to violate the sense of peace in the beauty of a tree well-placed on one’s property as well as on the public staircase. I standalone, looking at space that once had a tree, and I feel like my life has no purpose no more. “Much as I have no wish to hurt anyone's feelings, my first obligation has not been to be nice but to be true to my perhaps peculiar memories, experiences and feelings.”