Thursday, August 22, 2002

completed a quick read through Job.
the ending confused me.

the struggle to understand and reconcile
the glory of God||with||the apparent lack of earthly justice

kept me riveted

but i did not expect Job to regain his wealth.

what message does this ending deliver about
tragic lives of righteous people and the fortune of those who live comfortably by crushing the lives of others?
Job is especially powerful following Proverbs; it occupies this place with much intention, taking the prescriptions of Proverbs and opening them up to rigorous and painful interrogation.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

I just returned from a local theater with my family, from dinner with friends by Donald Margulies. I would call it a great play, mainly because it left me feeling somewhat betrayed. No period costume, sets, or language to distance me; no screen; no stilted dialogue to make me a critic. By the end, when the actors came out to take a bow, I felt positively bewildered. Two seconds ago, they had been a couple, married for decades, in bed together. Intimate. And I, through some strange arrangement that after two hours managed to seem natural, had ended up in bed with them. They came out for their bows entirely detached. From each other. From me. How did they do it? It is difficult for me to believe that people can don other lives and then remove them with costume and makeup at the end of a sum of hours. Why?
Because I'm a sucker.

Sunday night was an event. I saw my first movie in the theaters since--well, I can't place the last movie I saw in the theaters. I'm tempted to say Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but I don't think that's right. I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding with recently met instantfriend Aaron Herschtal. Milktoast moments abounded. But this comedy filled out its shoes: it played craftily on the strings of my own tensions, fears and premonitions. Names were changed and words shuffled, and suddenly my weird distorted nightmares projected bigscreen became hillarious, unencumbered by sagging plot.
A brilliant moment made me uncomfortable enough to turn away. The first onscreen kiss. Clumsy, awkward, executed without any of the skill that makes it easy for us to look on thoroughly detached. I was sitting six inches from two people, watching them kiss for the first time. Intruding.
I can't say I've been converted back to a dutiful member of the moviegoing masses, but I do not regret my hours spent sitting still in the darkness, effaced.

My search for new reading material has landed me in a peculiar spot: my brand new JPS Tanach. I browsed through Ezekiel but, well, I must admit his hellfire did not exactly fill me with the urge to jump in. I am drifting through the wisdom of Solomon: Me-sheli. And relearning my bar mitzvah haftorah. Isaiah 60. KOOMEE OOREE KEE VA ORECH. RISE UP AND SHINE. YOUR LIGHT HAS COME.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

What is the most intense interpersonal environment you can imagine?

What I have just been through amounts to a marriage: both more and less. For the first time in more than two weeks, I have just spent a full hour without Josh Sunshine, my partner in life from July 22 to August 8th. Excepting brief conversations in passing, we were each other's only company the entire trip, and spent almost every waking and sleeping moment within two feet of each other. We had to deal with this pressure-cooker of a relationship without the benefit of make-up sex to ease tensions. Of course, we both knew it would only last seventeen days, as opposed to the long and winding road that married folk sign on for.
I have much more .... much more....but it will not come now. The time is 3:30 am in Rome.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Our last day. And Rome is closing. Closing. Most of the city. Why?
"Ferie" has arrived.
Ferie is an institution that Josh and I agree would never make it in America, it totally befuddles the capitalist mentality. For most of August--the very apogee of Italy's tourist season, iron gates and metal chains lock down shops as Romans disappear from the city en masse, mainly "al mare" (to the sea), leaving only small storefront signs behind with the dates of their return. This is why I can't find myself a single cannoli in the entire city. Absurd.
Today: vatican city.

While staring at Raphael's School of Athens, transfixed by the desire to to climb right into the painting, I realized that no one was making eye contact. Every great thinker I could find in the painting directed his gaze either at a scroll, a blackboard, or someone else who was not looking back at them--except, as Josh pointed out to me, Aristotle and Plato, who focus the scene at the center as the only two who meet eyes. I also became intent upon a writer, propping himself against a wall in the background, intent upon his volume and his quill, his hair blown dramatically to the left by a wind that seems to touch only him.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

a small sampling of Roman graffiti:
"No al Nazismo"
"Palestina Libera"
"free inypendent media!"
"Israela Stato Terrorista"
"Fuck the Police"
"Non alla guerra NATO"
"Argentina Libre"
"Legalize (**accompanied by numerous depictions of joints**)"
(**a swastika**)
(**many anarchy symbols**)
"Intifada al Vicinera"

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Michaelangelo must have known some buff Jews. Or perhaps no Jews at all. David is ripped, but Moses (yes, complete with horns) makes him look puny. Though Michaelangelo seem to age Moses at just short of ancient, he complements waistelength beard with rippling biceps.Tablets in hand, Moses is sitting down--for some reason this shocked me more than any other element of this strange depiction, I had somehow never imagined Moses sitting down at any of the pivotal points: lying in the basket, fleeing from palace to desert, audience and audience and audience before Pharoah, up and down the mountain, forty years through the desert...when did he get a moment's rest? More importantly, what was that moment, that grabbed Michaelangelo's attention. Although the horns--a mistranslation of the hebrew word kranim that describes light radiating from Moses head as he descends with the tablets--hint that Michaelangelo was probably not the most meticulous biblical scholar, his choice of Moses's position is intruiging. What is Moses doing with the tablets, sitting down, looking off into the distance, muscles rippling?