For my brother, who is in the grave. For the baby, who was in my mother’s arms for couple of minutes. And for somebody third, who is both my brother and not him. The story about the three brothers and the golden apple, read in a mixed way — the golden brother and the three apples.
I can explain my whole life with them. The first apple is for the joy of being born. The second if for the pain of not being a parent. And the third one is to remind of all the loneliness in both of them.
A Short Tractate about Biography
He was teaching us to believe in the non-existent, but never to search for it, because if we find it, a yearning will die. He was the father of our yearnings — our drawing teacher.
Careful to our first attempts. Paint every time you cry. Paint just like that, no matter how, exercise crying. Water colors are always a view through tears. Put on your grandfather glasses, stand being the sweaty windows of the train, which is departing. It is only by departing that you can understand how close you are to the view.
Until the end of his life he remained close to something that was always absent. To somebody whose portrait was fading away. Most probably because for him pale and corporal were synonyms of a same color, of a same person, as if he could find the thing lost only in the misty mornings, for a short while. Then the mist would disappear and we clearly recognized the shapes of a sad man.
He carried his sorrow as one carries a three legged chair. The three knives of breathing, the pierced air always dripping with a new color. He painted. He never showed his paintings to anybody. We remembered them by the theme, that he would assign to us at class.
Divide the paper in two parts. On the left, draw the happiest day, on the right the unhappiest one. And as homework, already knowing it, draw the line that you have put in between those two days, draw it for me like a house, looked from inside.
Then he would give our houses and A. No matter if they were filled with clutter and in many colors, on many floors and impossible to be constructed, he would give everybody the best grade. The other teachers would tell him that it was not pedagogically justified, that he would destroy our criteria about proper and beautiful. Who am I to revise children’s views, he would justify himself every time.
Refusing to manage the direction of human eyes was the most permanent thing in his world: like a child, that he could have and take care of at home like other people. Like is the death of each art, he would say. He has rescued himself several times — he could have a studio like, glory like, and muses like. He would allow himself changes only in colors and previous views.
He would often gathered us home. You can come at any time. Some people went to confirm that there was really nothing there. Others saw the empty house as a possibility to paint it. We would work with them more. He would tame them for the wild.
Once he divided the generation in two. Thematically. We drew the perfect life and — man’s best friend. He wanted me to see if there was a difference. As he was teaching us to discover it, he tried to make out senses used that everything is one, but it depends who is drawing it.
There we are now, sharing the wholeness of sorrow. Not all of his students are here, but even one of us is enough to feel the cosmic loss. Our drawing teacher lies in a coffin. Some sketchy pointless final portrait. A drawing in coal. At candle light. He showed us this technique at school. I never looked at the coffin as a wooden poll. People come, they bend, everybody drawing according to their fullness with loss. The collective canvas of saying good-bye. After framing, the painting is lowered to the storage mess, but the exposition continues. As long as there is somebody to tell about it.
We start our lives with cave drawings and we die with panel frescoes. That is how he used to joke.