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D r a w i n g   B l i n d s
Lacunas, blindspots, gaps, aporias of seeing and remembering

 

...was I there, I was, and...and I saw it, saw it...witnessed with my eyes, with my own eyes...did I see what I, what I was looking at...did I see what I, what I thought I saw, had my eyes deceived me...did what I see really happen...did it really happen and I saw it, but did not see... just as I am seeing, yet not seeing the words as I write them, about what I saw...just as you, the reader may see what I saw as you read the words that I have written on this page...these words prospecting the ineffable...blind spots are gaining visibility, vaguely revealing events, flitting as they, as they appear before my mind’s eye...I was there I tell you, I am there and, in the...blink of an eye, the blinds are drawn...the gaps of memory opened, exposing an outlook, drawing my attention outward, through the window of the back door of our house, a sightline aimed due east along the 36th parallel, down the hallway, out the window of the back door, past the mulberry tree next to the patio in the backyard, through the quarter mile row aligned with Thompson seedless grapevines, a straight path directing my gaze toward the hazy skyline of the town of Fresno five miles in the distance, its modest cluster of buildings backlit by the morning sun rising in the east, everything within my view illuminated...a compelling visual, captivating and directing my transient observation through the hallway where, despite my ocular itinerary, I am still sitting in a chair, tying my J.C. Penney’s high-top shoes as father breaks two eggs into the cast iron pan and turns up the flame on the O’keefe & Merritt stovetop to brew his Maxwell House, “good to the last drop,” hobo coffee in the adjacent kitchen...it’s 6 a.m. and my awareness is heightened of dawn’s early light flooding through the oculus in the back door of our house...a spectacular phenomenon, it stares back at me...now, the aroma of melting butter, fried eggs, and coffee...now, I can just smell the distraction... as I write these words, and you the reader is now reading them, I’m convinced of memory’s olfactory capacities, the delicious sense of smell as vivid as the rays of the sun returning my gaze through the eye of the back door, with blinds drawn, revealing an east-west orientation of visibility along the 36th parallel, a latitudinal line 36° 44' 55" to be exact, north of the Earth’s equatorial plane connecting my geographical coordinates in the hallway of our house with those along its 25,000 mile trajectory...

...California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and Virginia again, Atlantic Ocean, Portugal, Spain, Mediterranean Sea, Italy, Mediterranean Sea again, Greece, Aegean Sea, Turkey, Iran, Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan again, China, Yellow Sea, North Korea, South Korea, Sea of Japan, Japan, across the Pacific Ocean, and back again through the front door of our house into the hallway where I am sitting, tying my shoes, a perfect constellation, then, then, then...

FLA-SH-SH-SH

...a sudden, unexpected flare, a blast of light blazes through the window of the back door...blinding the sun, it overwhelms my seeing... BLINK, BLINK... blindsided, I’m momentarily disoriented, vertigo, I feel a slight tremor, then in my body, then I hear barking, Prince is barking outside his doghouse, barking repeatedly, I hear him dragging his chain until it stops at its choke collar...I BLINK, BLINK, BLINK, as if measuring time and space...realizing the house is quaking underneath my feet, I BLINK, again and again...duck and cover, I fall to the floor, crawl quickly under the kitchen table...assuming a fetal position, I shut my eyes and bury my head between my knees and wait, a conditioned response that I learned in grade school at Madison Elementary, in the event of a nuclear attack, to protect my body I was told, to protect my body...then, in a moment of stillness, a sudden touch on my shoulder... opening my eyes, I see father reaching down to help me up from under the table, to “sit down for our morning meal,” he says calmly, “before I leave for work and you walk to school,” he says...nothing, nothing else was said, yet not saying is saying a lot under the circumstances, not seeing is seeing a lot, not understanding is understanding a lot...the aftermath of the “B-B-B-B-Bomb,” a wounding, fragmenting perception and memory averted attention...lacunas, blind spots, gaps, aporias, craters of seeing and not seeing remain of the incident at Yucca Flats at 37° 4' 7" latitude, 207.6 miles as the crow flies from where I was sitting tying my shoes...like the wound St. Thomas the Apostle probes with his index finger to confirm or refute the immortality of the Christ’s body, his survey of that wound in the body of an Other, averting viewers’, our gaze, toward and through the focal point of Caravaggio’s painting and through his canvas...raising doubt about the veracity of vision and visuality, a questioning of representation that cuts, opens, and folds the historical body of art back onto itself. Similar uncertainty lingered in the hallway as I was tying my shoes next to the kitchen where father was preparing breakfast...the less I focus the more I see... I’m reminded of my habit of blinking, a tic that coincidently developed back then...my eyes stammering, my mouth blinking...Jasper Johns’ The Critic Sees ...seeing and saying complicated as my eyelids involuntarily oscillate up and down, FLASH-ing fragmentations and discontinuities of perception and memory whenever I get excited or anxious, up and down, open yet shut, enabling a seeing without seeing, a remembering that comes from forgetting, and an understanding from mis-understanding, a FLASH come and gone in the blink of an eye...

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© Charles Garoian 2005