Boxed and ready

Patrick Wilson, Juliet, 2010

Patrick Wilson, Juliet, 2010

He posted calendars. In his office and garage and kitchen  – spent several hours a week updating them to quarter hours, syncing old-school. With sharp colored pencils, he outlines boxes of time.

Fox news fills squared time between 6:30 and 8:30, formerly dinnertime.  Lawn maintenance and church in green numbered boxes. She watches the blue bedtime box inch its way up from 9:30 to 9:00 to 8:30. His outworn hands gripping thin pencils like colorful pickup sticks. She noticed the broken pieces pierce heavy duty trash bags on Tues mornings, even though he double bagged.

“When do you go to the john?” She was there, borrowing his angle grinder.  The grey clink of his fingers rummaged through a Folger’s coffee can, searching out an odd length screw.  The color sharp schedule catches her eye. Rocking back and forth, heel to toe.


“The john!” she says louder and points. He needed a hearing aid. Of course wouldn’t admit it. Old men love their bowel movements.  A daily badge, a gold star sir for gastrointestinal bravery.

“You didn’t schedule your bowel movements, isn’t that the highlight of your day?”

He scowls. A hoarse sound, possible guffaw. Remembers laughter like his last kidney stone.

She’s right, he didn’t schedule in his “constitution.” Takes good half hour or more. Enough to read the front page. Or study the obits for friends.

“guess I’ll have to update it. “

“And get a hearing aid.”

“what?” he deadpanned.  Heel turn. “Not gettin’ a damn hearing aid. Juliet couldn’t make me. Neither can you.”  Coughs. “So go on, here’s the grinder.  Keep the box neat will ya?”

Shoes her out of this neat hen-house garage.  He hunts and pecks for the one screw he found and lost several times. Entirely unnatural. A neat garage I mean. That schedule too.

Wherefore art thou Rothko?

Not to be missed in Madrid, the Thyssen Museum.  This was my first real live Rothko and I fell for it, hard. Ambling around the bottom floor galleries, I felt very lost trying to interpret modern art and suddenly, “Heelllooo big guy.”   Tall, dark and green, it swept me off my feet.  A mesmerizing pool of color.  Go ahead. . . stick your toe in the water and swirl it around a bit (the green square is about the size of a plastic kiddie pool).  And I’ll tell you how to love Rothko.

Art by Mark Rothko Untitled (Green on Maroon) 1961 Mixed media on canvas. 258 x 229 cm Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Untitled (Green on Maroon) 1961 Mixed media on canvas. 258 x 229 cm Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

First of all, you must ask your mind to step back.  This painting is like an “Ohm” in color.   A portal into yourself (going where no man has gone before) and if you listen to your brain flip-flopping “What is this. .  I can’t understand it . .What is he doing here?” You’ve totally missed it. Don’t try to “figure it out”  which is a relief actually. Noggin, take the bench, heart you’re up.

You are experiencing yourself and the color together.  What if you become the canvas, feeling the green and purple wash over you and all the emotions that happen.  Tip into the green and splash down into it. Let your soul fingers touch the edges where the purpley maroon meet the green shoreline.  Feel all the layers of color lap up against you.

Now what do you see?  Your grandmother’s green sweater and the smell of her perfume, the softness of your son’s favorite blankie, your lover’s eyes.  For me green = life and this makes me desperately want to be “alive.” Rothko invites you on an inner journey. The color, your guide; a baptism in jade. Skinny dipping in a Rothko.