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No Names

February 19th, 2009

Daniel Pontius






Inspiration is as easy as action is difficult. Action takes effort. Just as it is easy to talk about how our new president inspires us, it is an entirely different thing–a momentous individual leap forward with no guarantees–to take action out of that inspiration.

When in college, I lived in an apartment in Chicago near the Polish Triangle in the neighborhood about which Nelson Algren wrote books. It was 1991 and it was a grey house and I had the first floor front apartment. I never saw the people in back but upstairs there was a mustachioed man who played the saxophone. I felt a kinship with him because at one time I too had learned proper embouchure.
The apartment’s theme towards decoration was a pale minty green that went from room to room in the color of the curtains. It started in the living room with thrift store finds of heavy brocade panels. There was a linen table cloth converted for the door to my bedroom and in the kitchen the sheers were purchased at a local shop. The dining table had been my Grandmothers. I painted it a glossy black and I would sit in the kitchen smoking and drinking coffee and scribbling out poetry, writing and rewriting the lines.

There was a cat named Loki and a preoccupation with a guy named Thomas. I was casting a lot of runes. When I found Loki on my front step, he had a slight limp and for the first month or so he hobbled around and it seemed like I had a mechanical wind up toy for a pet. Later as he healed, Loki would try to escape to join the other three or four neighborhood cats that lined up on the sidewalk to meow at him. Loki would run circles around the living room, ending and starting on the back of the futon to meow back down at them. Loki had a name change to Carlyle Cat in the hopes of mellowing him out. We moved to a studio apartment to the Northside, a block from the beach. At first Loki made failed attempts at escape via the third floor balcony which would end with him on a ledge meowing loudly and then he eventually escaped to a farm downstate.

This wonderful exhibition at the at the David Sallow Gallery was a fantastic sight as a friend and I drove down Hill Street in Chinatown on Tuesday. I was getting ready to do a U turn as I saw them shouting, “What was that?” As I parked in need of food. We had been several hours at the Edison to watch a cocktail mixing competition where my own timing of drink had been essential. These strange and wonderful creatures somehow reminded me of Loki when he first arrived to me unnamed. Hesitant and still and ready to slump into a pile.
“No Names” new sculptures by Elizabeth Higgins O’Connor.

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