accommodations (Thursday Doors on Friday)

surprised and
uncertain, I felt
a vague un
ease at how
the context had seemingly
rearranged itself–

buildings were now on
sides of the
street—no recollection of
this terrain remained

lodged in my
memory—had I
crossed over
into a
parallel world where nothing
retained the same shape?

or was it
just my synapses?–
the past re
placed—as if
recognition had been lost,
refilled with yearning

I took the subway down to Chelsea this week for the first time since 2019–I used to go often to see specific shows or just walk around the galleries, The show I wanted to see was Joan Mitchell’s late paintings at Zwimmer Gallery. But first, of course, was the walk from the subway on Seventh Avenue west towards the river.

I lived briefly in Chelsea in the mid-70s. I knew the street, but did not remember the exact address, although I narrowed it down to the two possible tenements (walk-ups with railroad apartments) above. But I was completely surprised by the door and window guardians, not only on both of these buildings, but on many other ones on this block. I had never noticed them! Neither when I lived there, or since, in my many visits to the neighborhood.

It’s true I was young, and my life was chaotic–but when has my life not been chaotic? And my memory is known to be bad–but still.

Just another example how looking at doors has made me more aware of my surroundings. That would never happen now!

And I couldn’t help thinking back to those years and wondering how easily I could have chosen differently, and who and where I would be now if I had.

I was really drawn to this painting by Joan Mitchell which I had never seen before. Sea and sky.

And as with my recent post on kblog mentioning the difference between the two Nick Caves, I know people confuse Joan Mitchell, the painter, with Joni Mitchell, the musician. The painting above is by Joan; the song below which goes so well with it (and the season) is Joni.

And look for more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel methodtwomadness is a blog of two friends, Nina and Kerfe kblog is Kerfe's solo branch on the tree

41 responses to “accommodations (Thursday Doors on Friday)”

  1. Aletha Kuschan says :

    Joni is a visual artist too, adding to the confusion — quite a well-trained artist, though very different in style than Joan. I envy you seeing Mitchell’s late works. I love the Grande Vallée paintings which I only know from books — don’t know how late in her career they were. Are any of them there? If so, I’ll REALLY be envious, Kerfe!

    The noticing of the door guardians is associated with cognitive “priming” — your mind is finds things that you’ve taught it to look for: it’s supposed to have an association with a specific bit of neuroanatomy, but I can never remember the names of the brain parts….

    The wistful relationship to past events that also has a name (everything gets a label these days, right?!) — “zero based thinking” or “what I would have done differently if I had known then what I know now.” I think those episodes of wistfulness can transform into present moment creativity. Some of life’s “what ifs” are still available — if not available in the way you recall, perhaps yet available in new clothing. Nudge those thoughts a bit and you may find they’re leading you into something that is possible now — which perhaps has never been possible until now.

    Liked by 3 people

    • memadtwo says :

      I do think some of them were the Grande Vallee–the style seems right, though none of them were labeled. I’m surprised you didn’t go to Baltimore to see the Mitchell show there last summer. I just could not get myself together to take the train down, though I wish I had.

      I think that’s true that you see what you’re looking for in a way. The trick is to open yourself up to surprise.

      As to what ifs–these are not available even in new clothing as they all involved relationships. It isn’t like I decided not to move to California back then, and now I could do it. I’ve had a good life, despite the mistakes made. The wistfulness I think comes from the fact that you do know more now, because of all that came after–but even if you could back and tell your younger self she is making a bad choice she would not really understand what you were saying.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aletha Kuschan says :

        I understand what you mean about younger selves. Such is the price of wisdom, isn’t it? Still, you’re a poet and you can converse with your younger self. Would be an interesting conversation to translate into poetry. To enter a fictional, timeless place where cause and effect are less consequential — wouldn’t that be intriguing?

        Liked by 1 person

        • memadtwo says :

          I’m reading a book (by chance) where the author is doing exactly that, or attempting to, converse with his younger self. Of course his thoughts begin with “you idiot!”–
          But also imagining those alternate/parallel paths–I’m sure someone must have investigated that. An interesting idea.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Colleen M. Chesebro says :

    What excellent observations, poetically, and in your photos, Kerfe. I’ve taken a similar trip into the past and noticed things I never saw before… I think that’s wisdom. As we grew older our world opened up to us. We see our reality now. I would have made different choices back then, as well… but if I had, I might not be who I am now. I love your door posts. There is always something insightful and meaningful to connect with.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Liz Gauffreau says :

    This was a very thought-provoking meditation. Memory, perception, and time seem to be getting more confounding the older I get.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. msjadeli says :

    I appreciate your deep thinking, Kerfe. You were busy living it instead of looking for who was noticing (the faces looking down.) Also I have come to understand that memories can lie to us. I’ve seen too many instances of where I remember it one way and another person who was there remembers it totally differently. There is no sorting out what really happened (unless it’s been captured on video, and even then the images can deceive.) Glad you got back to a place you enjoy going to and got to see an exhibit of an artist you like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks Jade. It’s true–everyone remembers different things, some of which are distorted or even completely changed by time. But still it amazes me that I wouldn’t have noticed the door guardians at the time.

      It was good to see some art, and just walk some different streets for a change. Every neighborhood has its flavor.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. merrildsmith says :

    A thoughtful poem and reflection on how we see can depend on perhaps when we see it–and then memory often swirls it all around as well. I’m glad you got to go back–and also to see the exhibit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. calmkate says :

    appreciate your insights about the doors and how easy it is to miss details, when the scales fall from our eyes we see much more 🙂

    Give me Joni anyday, I prefer your art by far to Joan’s!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. D. Avery @shiftnshake says :

    The poem is even a little spooky in the confusion and disorientation among the mis-remembered familiar. The last line brilliant and poignant:
    recognition had been lost,
    refilled with yearning

    Glad you made it back there and got your bearings again. Also glad you clarified the two Mitchells, I had not heard of Joan the (visual) artist. Thanks again for an enlightening field trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks D. I find myself even more disoriented now as there is so much I haven’t seen at all for three years. The changes are sudden, not gradual–the city is always changing no matter how good your memory is. As are the people I know, many of whom I also haven’t seen for three years.


  8. Sunra Rainz says :

    I enjoy the juxtapositions of your images here, K, and learning about Joan Mitchell, who is an artist I am not familiar with. I shall look into more of her work.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ingrid says :

    The poem is quite unnerving in some ways – we remember the past in a certain way, but what we’ve fixed in memory is not always correct!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Teagan Riordain Geneviene says :

    It’s interesting how and/or why things like that can happen. Although there’s a lot of little details around those entries, so things are easy to overlook. LOL, or maybe you didn’t notice them before, because until now, they weren’t looking back at you. Just kidding! Wonderful poem. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. boundlessblessingsblog says :

    A lovely poem, Marta. Nice and spooky doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. D. Wallace Peach says :

    I thought your parallel photos were the same place at first, and then really looked and saw that they weren’t – the point of your post, I think – truly noticing the environment. It’s amazing what our brains process and what they dismiss as unimportant. And beautiful painting. I can see why it captured your attention. I had to refollow you with morning for some reason, and glad I noticed that!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Emille says :

    Quite a few doors! Am on the tail end of having been sick, so that’s why I was nowhere my blog for some time. The birds you drew above are quite good – hope you will continue!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jill Kuhn says :

    Such interesting doors! And painting! It is amazing how we pay more attention to a subject when we have it on our minds. I’m the same way! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bela Johnson says :

    Amazing and beautiful guardian heads! Back when time was well spent in the building trades …🙏❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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