| Why are the best things in art and life so hard to find? Some days I will walk, my laces untied, my stringy-ripped jeans, my unshaved face and I will have this desire to look. Look for what, you might ask. Look for the questions or the answers of today, maybe.
You know what I have found so far? I have found that it is when I am walking slowly, when I am not looking, when the space before me will crack. That is when a happening is born into the history of my life. When the unexpected snaps its fingers in my ears and I am faced with a choice. I have many stories, I will share one.
One day I was going to class, passing the bodegas, the breakfast cafes, the pigeons on the slanted roofs, when out of nowhere a heavy set man in his 40's, turned toward me and said "Do you know of any underground movie makers?" I thought about it for a moment. Sometimes you have to step back and second guess if what is happening is truly happening or if it is an illusion or lyrics from some song coming to life before you. It was real and he appeared helpless in his ripped gray shirt and greasy gray hair. His back was a little hunched. I told him I wasn't in the art of making movies and that I was sorry that I didn't know anyone for him to correspond with. He understood. Then I asked myself, why would someone ask me that? I couldn't let it end there, you know? How could anyone let it end there? Why would this happen? I refused to continue to go on my way because somehow in someway I needed to hear this man's voice. So I asked, "Why are you looking for someone in the underground movie making business." (I had no idea what that was either) "I have an idea. I want to make a sleazy horror film, blood and violence sells." He sighed. Looked down at the sidewalk where the ants crawled and where the scratched lotto tickets lay.
He then told me about his life, his current status. His mother and father had just died, he moved in with his sister and her husband and after a week or so they decided he couldn't stay with them any longer. He was on the streets, using pay phones to contact the welfare agencies. I don't know the specifics; I don't think I need to anyway. He then told me that he was living with an artist in this house that has a spray painted golden door, a house or a group home, I'm not sure? But a golden door, what could that mean? Maybe nothing. Somehow it worked out for him. His name was Bill.
When he approached me he had a cable box in a Shop Right bag and said that he had to return it because he couldn't afford it. It was strange though, it looked like it was missing pieces and the plastic on the wires was torn. After all of this, he said, "I believe in Jesus ... I believe He is my hope." He sighed again but then looked up towards the sky, the spotless sky, and managed a smile.
To this day I replay this in my head. To this day I see him on his porch where sick people walk in and out, addicts and prostitutes. I look over and he waves his hand. I say to myself this is my fellow man. I say to myself now that I must speak to this man again, though he is a stranger, he has something to say and I must listen. If I can do something then I will check myself, my soul and act.
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Homelessness. Poverty. Hunger. Men under bridges with rain dripping on their scruffy faces.
Every day I am exposed to these tragedies. I can't help but to address them, somehow. But in them, in the corners, in the cracks of the paint, or on the walls in graffiti, their is some message of hope for the viewer. I guess what I want to say is this - in our darkest most depressing of times, there is hope, we just have to find it, to look at our life, to listen to it, and find it.
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