Today was an art day!
I spent part of my day at the Industry City Open Studios event. I did and didn’t enjoy it. The bar was high, I’ll admit. TheGo Brooklyn project was such a pleasure, yesterday’s event would have had to do some work to equal that. Okay, but really, not that much work. I didn’t have a WOW! moment at any point during the day, however, and that was disappointing, but I did see a handful of artists whose work I very much enjoyed, including one whose work I will save up for to purchase for myself and another whose work I’ll definitely be purchasing as a gift for my brother. Mostly what I came away with was the sense that you have to be an artist with money to work in Industry City. There was clearly a much more commercial feel to yesterday’s tour than to any of the spaces I visited during Go Brooklyn. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs to eat. The feeling is different. That’s all.
After Open Studios, I headed south east to spend a couple of hours with Naima (my writing mentee). We worked on the science journalism piece she is preparing for her portfolio, and I discovered a science question I have that it might be interesting to investigate. We also talked about her plans for college and what internship she might be interested in for next year. For six months out of her junior year, her schedule will be modified to include an internship. She is torn — engineering, interior design, medicine, community work. Medicine is a new one. She’s never mentioned an interest in it before today. When I asked her about it, she looked a little sheepish. “I don’t know if I really want to be a doctor, but my mom is talking a lot about it now. She says it would be good for me.” We’ll see if that one sticks. The first two seem to be her real interests.
And now I’m on the train, soon to be on the bus, heading home and thinking poetry. Today’s Poetic Asides prompt is to write a water poem (hence the title of this post). I never knew I was a water person. I spent time at beaches as a kid, and I liked it. I learned to swim in a frigid mountain lake that I played in every summer of camp as a child, and I liked that, too. But I still didn’t know. After college I spent a couple of weeks in the middle of a months-long hitch around Europe on beaches in Portugal and loved it. Still I didn’t know.
Then I went to Jamaica for the first time. Exactly nine years ago tomorrow. And then I knew. Not just that I was a water person, but that I should have been born in the Caribbean. How did that get so messed up? I stepped out of the airport and into that wave of humid heat, and it settled into my chest and that was the end. Heart lost. Over. I still have that feeling every time. Tonight’s poem started with all of that in mind … but went a different way in the end.
swimming my days,
life on the water.
Instead, I walk,
spend my days dreaming
of the shore.
In my next life —
yes, in my next life …
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An Arun is a 15-line poem with the syllable count 1/2/3/4/5 — 3x. It may be a new thing in the world, made up by me last year. “Arun” means “five” in Yoruba.