Every work of art, every poem… is an investment

from October, 2010

I walked down Passyunk to 5th, and then to South and the Eyes Gallery. 42 years ago, Eyes had been open… maybe a year. A proposal to build an exit from I95 to South, fought and delayed for years, had driven away old businesses and made rents cheap: perfect for Artist Urban Pioneers like the Zagers.

1968, I walked into the Eyes with my wife, then five months pregnant with my oldest son. We left with a birth announcement, a wonderfully visceral silkscreen of a newborn, Oct. 29. Ezekiel Zager. A few months ago I came across this print and thought of how many photographs, mementos, drawings that I’d done, had been lost over the years. Not surprising if Julia and Isaiah had lost the last of these. Today, being the 29th of October, I walked the mile or so to the Eyes Gallery. I saw Julia, who now manages the business there. Said, I may have something you’d be interested in… and took out the print, gave it to her.

She thanked me… and remarked on my Spirit Stick, and seemed pleased. It was like returning something that I had held in safe keeping–but was never mine. I can visualize the image without it.

This is what life is meant for… to return what we’ve been loaned, without ceremony. No one ‘owns’ anything. We don’t always know to whom or where to return what we hold in trust. It’s a great moment, when we are able to to make good on the loan.

For me, every work of art, every poem… is just that. Returning what we’ve be given… for temporary safe keeping. The interest… how I’d understand the parable of the talents in the Christian bible… about interest on the talent, not as profit… but creative investment. We give back… with what we have created out of ourselves from the seed of the gift.


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