Choose wisely

I will instruct you and teach in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – Psalm 32:8

Early November 2023, Brooklyn. The leaves are dry, brittle; remnants of what they once were. They crunch underfoot, they fill the cracks. These ones on Dean Street, for example.

Cracks for L’Architecte II (Dean Street, Brooklyn, 9 November 2023)

“L’Architecte deux!” you say to yourself upon seeing them.1 Then: “L’Architecte deux? In Brooklyn? I made that piece in Providence! Why would I have been working at that time off the cracks from a photo taken back when I was still living in Brooklyn? Had God been showing me even back then what was waiting for me in Providence?”

On the train home, a look through your photo gallery and you have your answer: the photo of the cracks for L’Architecte II is dated 17 September 2022. You’d taken it during a short trip to Brooklyn with Antoine, the real architect.

Cracks for L’Architecte II (Dean Street, Brooklyn, 17 September 2022)

Not God sending you signs of things to come, then. Not, in any case, with these cracks. He’d done that already, with the cracks for L’Architecte. The first. The original. The photo of those cracks is labeled Fort Greene and dated 16 January 2021.

Cracks for L’Architecte I (Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 16 January 2021)

It’s unclear why you snap the photo; the cracks don’t inspire anything. At least, not right away. Three weeks later, though, you paint Aubergine.

Aubergine (9 February 2021)

« Il y a un message subliminal ? » your friend Marie writes in reaction to seeing it on Instagram.

You don’t understand the comment; you have to look it up. How were you supposed to know that the eggplant emoji is used as a suggestive icon during sexting? You haven’t done anything that could even remotely qualify as sexting with anyone in years! There was that boring Indian guy you had dinner with once before Covid hit who texted you a few days later with You like ass fucking, but you don’t remember if he addedany eggplant emojis to the end of his message, only that he didn’t use punctuation. You like a man who uses punctuation.

Anyway, revenons aux moutons.

Because you painted Aubergine up in the right-hand corner of a 9 x 12 sheet of paper, you decide to paint something else on the left side of the page, to fill the space. Why not a cloaked figure in a pointy hat holding an ice-cream cone and looking back over his shoulder? It’s not based on any cracks or stains. It comes straight from your imagination. You call it Cornet de glace.

Cornet de glace (10 February 2021)

The whole scene, the woman in the back corner holding out the eggplant to the man in the front corner who hesitates to start his ice-cream cone, is titled Savoir choisir.

Savoir choisir (11 February 2021)

The two choices: A couple scoops of ice-cream on a classic cone, or an eggplant; empty calories and a short-lived sugar high, or substantive nourishment and long-lasting health benefits; easily recognizable processed food to be eaten immediately, or raw food that requires a little time and love to prepare; comfort food for unrequited romanticism and passion, or intimacy like none you’ve ever known and yet have always dreamed of; American, or Mediterranean; the photographer, or the architect: Luke, or Antoine.2

Providence, mid-September 2022. In the week before you and Antoine travel to Brooklyn where you will happen upon the cracks that will become L’Architecte II, these things: an improv class, back-to-school parent night, and the creation of L’Architecte. How did the picture of the cracks you’d already used as the inspiration for Aubergine in February of the previous year come back out, to inspire a new piece? You have zero idea. What you do remember, however: the immediate recognition of Antoine’s hands resting along the crack in the bottom right-hand corner of the stone. When you are drawing or painting or writing at the dining room table, when you are doing the dishes or cooking at the kitchen counter, these hands on both sides of your body. You love these hands; you would recognize them anywhere.

L’Architecte I – 1 (15 September 2022)

In the cracks, then, from God, a directive of sorts. But also, his counsel.

L’Architecte I – 2 (15 September 2022)

“When the time comes,” He says, “choose wisely. When the time comes, choose the architect.”

L’Architecte I – 3 (15 September 2022)
  1. L’Architecte II is the subject of Love’s delight. ↩︎
  2. See Nothing more. ↩︎

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