Impractical reality, romance
By In Kyung Lee
On June 21 at Robert R. Wagner Jr. Park, I saw Trisha Brown Dance Company’s seven creatures dressed in white.
Following my life routine, I arrived in the area early, and got lost for twenty minutes until I found the little nook by Pier A, where the event took place.
During my lost back and forth in the midst of the tourists, I saw the Statue of Liberty from afar, and a quote from Benjamin Franklin: Where liberty is, there is my country.
Well, everything about this performance was impractical.
It was hot.
The dancers were wearing pants and long-sleeve shirts, the white ones that got intensely stained with grass as the performance progressed.
Most of all, the dancers’ joints and spines were unreasonably limber and fluid.
Fingertips are not supposed to be so compact with vibrant cells, I thought at one point.
There was liberty in their bodies and this was my country.
I sat there,
my eyes glued, feeling like I could fall in love with these strange beings right at this moment.
Their playful smiles,
the lines of limbs crossing,
the lingering seconds in between,
the collective reverence felt for Trisha Brown & the continuing history of the NYC dance scene,
the white clouds morphing in perfect composition,
the oddity of the outdoors speakers that blasted music to accompany some dances,
the strong sun that made one of the dancers move with closed eyes for a length of time until one of her fellows saved her by relocating her body to avoid the direct sun…
Sometimes when I stand in subways in an exhausted state, I find myself longing to escape from “reality” by reminiscing about romance.
When I am tired of the practical demands of daily existence—my struggling visa, missing package, terrible jobs, $, random job interviews that make me feel like a mouse scurrying around the city and I keep seeing dead mice in the city and it makes me think should I go back to my home country but there I can’t make the art that I want—I desire the love of impracticality in romance.
For an easy example: Candle is always better than electricity. Rain is a plus, even when you are outdoors.
Beauty comes before practicality, without question. Time (how long something should take in a logical sense) is not an importance.
L. used to tell me how beauty should always come first and he cannot handle those barefoot shoes with ten toes because they are just so ugly. We would dress up to clean the roofs with a powerful device that explodes out water all over the place with a deafening roar, and L. would say that we are fashion hipsters, not roof cleaners.
How E. let me drive his old Subaru daily (I’ve never had a driver’s license) for hours, even after I crashed his car into a parked car (“It’s okay, it’s is just a car”), and his car was fucked but he even found that lovely, and said he would send me the broken car parts to NYC.
I told him it would be expensive to ship, but he said, “No, it won’t be.”
Yesterday, I received fingernails in the mail from Arizona.
E. kept my fingernails trimmed at his house on the day I left for NYC, and added in his fingernails, which were trimmed two days after.
He said that fingernails are recorders of time, and the growth of these fingernails “had likely happened during the times we were driving.”
I never thought fingernails were supposed to be romantic, and I still don’t think I do.
Our skins not touching, we lay down on the floor last night to a song that was 7 minutes and 21 seconds long.
And I suddenly remembered that I have a pelvis and very open hips and ten fingertips.
It was heavenly.
To have permission to fall and to watch others fall,
into impractical romance,
into this country I remembered to be a citizen of.
To practice that,
over and over again.
To find again the child and the savage in us (Jill Johnson).
I delighted in seeing the creatures in white simply fall, roll, and giggle on and on.
They were children, and so we all were too.
At one point during the performance,
a huge yacht with “Coors Light” written on its sail slowly cruised behind a dancer with a beaming smile. Even that looked poetic.
While the applause was still lingering after the performance,
I rushed to my shitty job that pays me $5 per hour (and no tip).
And of course, I followed my daily routine of getting lost (I attempted a new supposedly “faster” route) and ran into work five minutes late. My boss pointed at his watch and made a meaningful frown that shriveled his whole face into a giant dried date, and I apologized for my inadequacy as a human (but not as a creature, no).
As I was slowly pacing back and forth in the empty restaurant
(Background sound: four TV screens scream sports and obscene pop songs blast),
I spotted the “Coors Light” LED sign hanging on the wall.
I stared and stared,
and remembered that I have a soul.
That night, I quit my job.
Whenever I would get so lost on my bike and get frustrated,
I would imagine myself being E.T. biking to the moon.
This would immediately make me feel better because it somehow romanticized, therefore justified, my being lost.
I would bike to the moon for my whole life if I could.
I would totally be E.T. if I could.
Trisha Brown once said that the solution to the problem of identity is, get lost.
About the Author: In Kyung Lee (Inky) is an artist who enjoys moving in all ways. She recently moved to NYC. You can see more of her works here.