beckoned, not driven

8:44 PM Posted by James Owens

“….people who appear like metaphors somewhere further out than we do, beckoned, not driven, invented by belief, author and hero of a real dream by which our own courage and cunning are tested and tried, so that we may wonder all over again what is veritable and inevitable and possible and what it is to become whoever we may be."

- Diane Arbus, "The Full Circle"






Of course, Diane Arbus -- whom I can’t help being a little in love with, these past few weeks -- is talking about her circus freaks and crazy street preachers and tattooed strippers. But what I have to offer is this, ordinary people in the midst of their ordinary lives. It is all I have today against the inevitability of death, the wild despair and dread in the voice of one who means so much to me.



A complete and utter failure. It doesn’t help. How could it help? --- This little girl with her halo. This very serious boy. To see the movement that is not outside time, but rather woven into the fabric of the ordinary second. To see. To be the one who sees. To love them, and be separate, at the boundary stones…..










6 comments:

Sorlil said...

I'm always fascinated by the strangeness of the everyday, of being on the outside and taking a good look in at the absurdity of daily life. I used to visit a daily photo blog of ordinary Berliners, it fascinated me for a long time. I like the little girl's halo :)

didi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Owens said...

Sorlil: The “strangeness of the everyday” -- yes, ordinary life is strange, whenever one finds a way to stand back and really see it. I think of someone’s (don’t remember whose) description of the function of poetry: “to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange.”

Roxana said...

i couldn't speak here, sometimes the words wound too much. i have dwelled in the images, that revealing every day gesture, the miracle and absurdity of life - nothing can heal the despair in the voice of one we hold dear - but being held, being bathed in the love of the other, this helps. the only thing that helps.

i don't know how to thank you, i cannot...

James Owens said...

Roxana: The gestures are not lost, even if their smallness is painful, not lost ... and attention to these small moments and gestures is love. I know that you understand, because this is so intensely true on the Bridge….

You thank me over and over, by being here, by being you … more than I could ever ask for….

Claire said...

i wonder how you find what you read...

such powerful, though provoking ideas and concepts.

"tested by our own reality" speaks most loudly to me.