living a summer dayAs a child,
in the languid Long Island summer days,
I used to wander barefoot in the grass in the garden,
a glass of lemonade in hand,
revelling in sensorial delight.
My young mind danced,
tasting the palette of flowers,
seeing with my feet the moist earth,
touching the sounds floating around me,
hearing the rich perfume of the flowers,
and smelling the lemonade
sliding down my throat.
A female voice sings lightly
accompanied by the airy sounds of a vibraphone.
Bubbles send spirited impulses through me
that move me in various directions.
Small dense pockets of energy
I dance into them,
the erratic rhythms and melodies
of the female voice.
Darkness transforms into light,
pain into pleasure.
a crowded bus
I boarded the bus at
Place de la Concorde in the late afternoon.
It was packed with people.
About six of us occupied the small space near the driver.
I was right up against the front window together with another woman,
who was leaning against the dashboard,
holding a bouquet of flowers and looking out of the window.
Also leaning, I turned to her and said,
‘This is like our couch; we’re comfortable. It is as if we are in our living room.
Can I offer you something to drink? Let me get you a vase for your flowers.’
She laughed and we spoke lightly of this and that.
The discomfort of the crowded bus
was transformed through our conversation.
The casual exchange between us lightened our moods.
My stop came first.
I wished her a lovely evening as I descended.
Bill Viola The Encounter
Grand Palais, Paris 2014
An arid, luminous landscape.
Two women walking towards us, the viewers, from a great distance.
A young woman on the left side of the image, an older woman on the right.
They each inhabit their own world, moving on separate paths.
I stand in front of them, focusing my attention
first on one, then on the other. After a time, their walks bring them close to us.
Their features and expressions become discernible.
They turn towards each other and continue to walk until they are face to face.
They touch, and something passes between them, sending shivers through my body.
The figures then fade into each other, change sides, and turn to walk back into the distance.
As they recede, I feel the substance of their exchange coursing through me.