Love Letter to Norma Cole

Norma Cole, Untitled, 2016.

October 30: You never step into the same river once. Hello. “What elsewhere can there be to this infinite here?” Samuel Beckett asks. Not be pushed around by this or that, but rather gently cajoled. What’s all this content? Do we get an occult trapdoor? Dailyness follows the thin-necked lady by the Seine, in the glooms of Notre Dame.

November 1: Take an object’s thereness to heart, being with/in the world today. To realize each thing’s uniqueness while registering our collective predicament is radical. I imagine Norma Cole’s love language. Very Wittgenstein.

Without you, bird-on-coaster, what am I? Funny in general. How especially pleased I am by daily interaction unnoticed pre-pandemic, our relative solitudes. Mind and matter, as ever together. To animate the inanimate keeps you and me alert. Togetherness is human, social, no, universal, cosmic. Relief to be knit with you, surrounded by our memory-makers, memory-containers. A little clock falls on my head as I sleep I realize its metaphysical power.

Bill Berkson reminds: “The priest in the pit says ‘Everyday life is hell’” (Start Over). Yes, but the drawing changes this, makes it partial. I bounce a ball along symbols, considering relation. Receptive to what may come, one is impartial, all here. Holding to certainty of anything breeds protection, defense, of what?

November 8: Stoned Bernadette Mayer epiphany: a poem or drawing needn’t be “informative” but true, requiring neither trust nor belief. The drawing urging justice for murdered Black people, is surely now as Bill’s Hat, remembrance of a whole history, what is radical about love.

November 11: Ali Smith reminds: “Simultaneity doesn’t just conjure a constant present or confirm a continual, always colourful state against all the odds—it also gestures toward cancelling the timeline altogether.”

November 14: My heart’s heavy, Norma Cole. Your drawings are light, I emerge different.


Norma Cole — Drawings is available from Further Other Book Works.

Author: Paul Maziar

Paul Maziar writes about art and books for various publications such as BOMB, the Brooklyn Rail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Oregon ArtsWatch, L.A. Weekly, and RREALISM. A book of his art writings, ONE FOOT IN THE OTHER WORLD, is forthcoming from AC Books and his monograph text, Roger Kukes: Thirty Years, was published in 2019. TO THE AIR, his poetry book in collaboration with artist Cynthia Lahti, was published by the Cooley Gallery at Reed College in 2020. Paul is a member of the Association Internationale des Critiques d'Art.