Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meanders: Zarko Radakovic, Julije Knifer, Storytelling

3:23 a.m. For sleepless hours the title line from Richard Thompson's "From Galway to Graceland" has been flickering in my mind, catching like a torn toenail on the loose fabric of family worries and job worries and restless turning and a recurring need to pee. I pull out Zarko's description of his trip from Germany through Zagreb to Pristina on the occasion of Slobodan Milosevic's catastrophic speech at the field of blackbirds, Kosovo polje, read his careful cadences, follow his restless mind, enter his world just as he finds an old friend:

. . . we walked listlessly down Amruš street, whose meandering course took us unfailingly to the house number thirteen.

At Julije Knifer’s, the atmosphere was “cozy.” The dog gnawed at one of my shoes. Nada was coating eggplants with bread crumbs. Ana was unaffected and sweet. Knifer, as always in similar situations, held his joined hands at the nape of his neck. Those were moments of pure feeling, of clear looks and inner peace. Even the voice of Slobodan Miloševic on television was slightly more restrained.

Zarko once took me to visit Knifer in his apartment in Paris. Paintings of meanders everywhere. And in the night I ease my mind into slow meanders, let the ticking clock move me along the currents of black paint on white, of simple form.

1 comment:

Elaine Ritchel said...

Hi Dr. Abbott,

I stumbled upon this somewhat enigmatic post while reading about Julije Knifer. I just loved your brief description of Knifer's home, and I was wondering if you might be able to tell me a little more about your experience visiting him or your impressions of his work. Please feel free to email me.