Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sangre de Cristo

That's the mountain above me as I write. But first things first. I shot a short film in Texas. Called "Air." When it's ready, I'll link it to a site from here. Should be March or April. My first film as writer-director. Something came together and suddenly there were seventeen of us on an old Greyhound bus heading a thousand miles through the night, with a white-rapper driver whose name was "Cornfed", to west Texas. It all worked out, even though I made a lot of stupid first-time mistakes - later paying the price in frustration in the edit room. A few images from the shoot. Me in the Charlie Brown pullover. And on another day, much colder, in the light-coloured beanie talking to Andrew Garfield, our extraordinary lead actor, who very deservedly won a BAFTA for "Boy A".

So now I am in New Mexico. My friends Dennis and Sylvia have a house here, 8000 feet up in the snow (snow right now, that is) above a small town called Arroyo Seco, and they tend to stay here in summer, so I've come up from LA on a self-imposed writer's retreat. Trying to navigate the fine line between creative solitude and stir-crazy isolation. A very fine line, some days. It is beautiful here. A few pictures. Plus the car I bought last week in Albuquerque for $1500 - a 1973 Buick Le Sabre Centurion, which I love, and which cruises like a big old ship, while still managing to look a little pimped out.

Sometimes (it is rare) there is poetry in the Craigslist auto & truck ads. I saw this:

Engine does not smoke or knock.
Tranny does not slip or shudder.
Rear end does not howl or whine.

(It was written in prose, but there's poetry in it.)

I am up here to edit/wrestle with/reorganize my new book of poetry ("Interferon Psalms"), which my publishers are waiting for back in Australia. The manuscript is essentially finished, but there are structural decisions etc to make. I figured a maximum-non-distraction environment would be good. Here also to begin the new novel: a blank page situation for the first time in quite a while - nothing but a dense two-page outline, the story in its essence, and a sense of the novel's overall texture.

I'm nestled under the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains, or mountain, I'm not sure which. There's a zen temple right next door, which I haven't visited yet. The former abbott of the temple (former because he died in a swimming accident in Switzerland in 2002, apparently) named it "Daisho-Zan" or "Great Holy Mountain" twenty years ago. (I guess there's a name before the Spanish name too.)

On the wall beside my bed, there's a lithograph, or possibly an etching, by someone whose name I can't make out (perhaps it's "Wilsey '99"??), a crazy blue image of a star with an eye in it, and a wild sea and night sky, and beneath it this quote, attributed to Michael Hannon, from "Fables":

We are crossing the lake of violent time
singing a little a little void song for courage....

(And I wonder if the "a little a little" is a Wilsey mistake in the transcribing, or a correct transcription of the Hannon original. I like both possibilities.)


Anonymous said...

Absolutely cannot wait to see "Air"! And, am definitely on pins and needles to read the new book! There's just nothing like Luke Davies' poetry!

Theresa Shell

Emilia Mazza said...

your new ride is so drugstore cowboy - in the best possible way of course


Anonymous said...

Hello Luke. I hope the US of A is treating you well. I'm looking forward to your new poetry collection. I love the snapshot of the man with the cattle skull head - very David Lynch. Peace and light, Lorne Johnson

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joyce said...

Thank you for sharing your life and thoughts. Holding my breath for Air.

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