Tuesday, May 23, 2017

afra/ paterson/ Lucia interview

Went on a field trip with Sofia's class to see a marrionette show at the Swedish Cottage in Central Park. As we were boarding the bus a girl in Sofia's class named Afra looks up at me and says, "I have 2 talents."

 "Oh yeah, what are they?" 

"Drawing and being inside my body."
This floored me. Being inside your body is such a valuable talent. It's the key. But it's so hard to do well. It goes hand in hand with drawing.  

On This American Life this week there was a great father/daughter story. The father says that his 9 year-old daughter was at the stage where she was constantly asking questions and interrupting his work. So he told her to write them all down and give them to him at once.  So she makes a long list and includes questions like: What is love? What is time? Why are we here? Why do we exist at all? Etc. He's overwhelmed. The dad thinks about it really hard and takes three years to come up with his answers, long-winded essays full of quotations by esoteric philosophers, etc. He says the hardest one to answer is the one about love. The reporter asks the daughter if she got the answer she wanted to her questions. The daughter said she didn't really care about the answers, in the first place, she just wanted to have a conversation with her father. The irony...

Which reminds me somehow of Ron Padgett's poem in the film Paterson, "Another One." This is my memory's translation of that poem:

Another One 

In school you learn about 
the first, second and third dimension: 
A shoebox

Later you find out about the fourth dimension:

And then the fifth, sixth, seventh... 

I look down 
at my beer 
and smile

One of the great things about Paterson is that the poems are written across the screen as Adam Driver is saying them in his mind, and we also hear and see them more than once. The film allows you to slow down and linger over the poems. 

I bet Padgett has more eyes and ears on his poems in this film than he's ever had before by a factor of 100. Kudos to Jarmusch for spreading the word.

I also liked the fact that the city of Paterson has a bus driving citizen named Paterson, echoing the central idea in William Carlos William's book, "Paterson;" the city as an extention of the individual and vice versa, "and so to man/ to Paterson." And how oddly perfect is it that the actor playing this "ur" bus driver is named Adam Driver?  

The poem above, "Another One," reminds me of another one, also by Ron Padgett: 

Chocolate Milk

Oh God! It's great!
to have someone fix you
chocolate milk
and to appreciate their doing it!
Even as they stir it
in the kitchen
your mouth is going crazy
for the chocolate milk!
The wonderful chocolate milk!

I interviewed Lucia yesterday. I asked her why we exist. She said because God exists. "And we were never going to die because God will never die." Big smile. I asked her why God exists. She said, "Oh, you're asking me the hard ones!" I said, "Just give me your best guess, why does God exist?" She said, "Because mommies exist." Doubt I could come up with a better answer than that.

On the bus Fynn told me this joke:  
Why was the chicken late for supper. Because he was pick pecking on his walk. 

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