7/9-11/08
Helsinki

I wait for them to leave first and walk on the other side of the street
My call is not their call in so many ways
The need for fuel isn’t just for the body
But for the eyes and soul
Predatory viewing, consuming passing people and silent buildings
The way the light strikes some and caresses others

I mind my words, stay silent, walk and sit alone
Either causing nary a ripple or building concern

A quiet American is not usual, meaning something else
Unlike the thunder of a group of them
A loud song or a table overturned,
A wall of loud cotton entering a McDonalds

Sliding into a local cafe a view of the traffic of life and love available, strong coffee and a polite position
The dance of invisibility may only be an illusion to me but it’s my time, my way today
For the overly verbose blowhard to find a still place beside a sea of strangers
Trapped in my selfish single language
Seeing words that align, ones that certainly don’t
I’ll push the same ones around into a different shape, the same view earns another painting,
A lifetime of seeing what the eyes see when filtered by the heart

There is such a sense of community, the city center is alive
Not like the ghost towns of the Midwest and south, their downtowns treated like a husband left for a more passionate lover in the suburbs
But walking streets filled with stores and cafes,
Bicycles and trams keep most cars garaged
And the people mix and speak and run into one another,

Happy accidents that a word or two resolve something that a car culture couldn’t do

Without a lawyer or an insurance company or two

Then adding a soundtrack something else occurs
Their faces change and the removal of their voices
Makes everyone who passes a portrait in motion
Each detail of their face something worth capturing
Beautiful, damaged, worn, hopeful
They each have a clear quality with the volume down

The importance of feeding an artist’s soul
Cannot be overstated
Without it, all the other delights in life
Are hollow and bland
Like a missing family member
Or an ingredient in a stew
The moments of light keep the darkness
From taking a fatal hold
Upon the fragile path
Of breath.