an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

dirt and art

My father is a surveyor for the copper mine in Morenci, Arizona. This means he had just enough trade school and talent for drawing and math to eventually rise up and out, from the depths of the open pit-- where the other men in the family moved dirt to the concentrators and smelters--to the rim of the maw: "the largest open-pit copper mine in North America." He walks the mine's radius, a diviner of pipe lines and ore lines and shaft lines from the palimsests of the mine's previous lives. He tells the company where to dig. That's how he describes his job.

My father brought home rocks. Iron pyrite, mica, azurite, malachite, obsidian, pink and white agate, flint--and history through rocks--obsidian arrowheads, pottery shards, geodes, fool's gold, mica windows, limestone canyons, turquois beads, grinding stones, slag, and sometimes the red metal itself extracted from the hole, whole and in its natural state.

My father brought home graphite pencils painted turquoise blue and numbered in gradations of hardness and darkness which he kept sharpened to the quick and bound in rubberbands. He brought home watercolors and oils and tiny brushes and colored pencils and fat gum erasers and tracing paper and paper with tiny grids, and at night he wrote his tiny numbers in his tiny gridded books and took his surveying scope out to the front yard and pointed it up to show me what he could of the moon and stars. He tells me da Vinci mixed his paints from ground minerals and linseed oil, that the indians did something similar.

He kept his map of the sky.


"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

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