Krakow : Seven Days

Arrive to foreign letters and muted sunlight.  Seas of Polish at rush hour.  Over cobbled streets along a city wall, it's almost dark.  Lights from golden storefronts and kebab stands and the cadence of horse hooves.  Meeting with a friend, talk of art and ideas in the market square. Share food and drink on the terrace with accordion music.

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Breakfast on velvet chairs, banter of tourists, dusty morning light spilling through glass.  Reading, photos.  Trying to listen, I cannot see the city yet.  Forced concepts scribbled out, disordered thoughts.  The curious reality of making art, something of value.  To be present, to be realized in the consequence of now, to be spoken to in divine tones, to move, and draw and see as addendum.



Walk through chilled air, bright sunlight at eye level. Jewish quarter.  Flea market with fur coats and faces etched by years and seasons and lack.  Bright yellow leaves falling in gusts gathered into neat piles hemmed by iron lattices.  Sit for one hour.  Old men in shuffled movements, expectations stolen or given away, redemption a concept reduced to myth.


French omelet and dark coffee with books marked by notes.  Decorated horses snorting steam.Prayer.Movement through streets, the clattering of heels, shadows of churches. 
Writing in a rock cavern, dimly lit.  Silence. Polish Kielbasa, local libations. Laughter. The closing moments of jazz in a cathedral. Drifting thoughts of work not attempted. The promise of tomorrow.


Early.  Conversation.  A waitress with eyes that pine for purpose and power and beauty beyond ritual.  Backpack stocked with pastels.  A ground of greens and yellows and reds and blacks.  Couples kissing on benches. Slow pacing around determined locals, an opening to a park. The light has weight. Seated in damp grass and shapes emerge.  Progress through unconvincing patterns, ambivalence to time where all externals fall away with a eyelet of vision.


A train station with pigeons and sleeping men. Travel to Auschwitz on rusted seats.  Graffiti, buildings abandoned, queer and lonely signs above squinting figures.  Leafless trees passing through streaked windows and fading sunlight.  Squealing tracks.  Arrival at a town without mystery and 80's era vehicles.  Smoke in the air.  A slow procession into and around vacant buildings filled with ineffable history. I feel numb.  What will drive my heart to mourn? I am concerned with self, petty problems of inconvenience arising as I stare at 10,000 discarded shoes. Questions for God.

 DAY 7

A return to Birkenau.  Brumal air that creeps around my neck and pricks at my cheeks and circles the decrepit barracks with whistling sighs.  A lock swings from a steel chain.  There is dying grass fluttering beneath.  Endless barbed wire and failing chimneys and broken remains and chambers beyond any estimation and the weight of a million persons. Patterns of wear and weather and irreclaimable moments present themselves to me unexpected.  Daylight fades around a red sun.  Infinite thanks. 

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