For years I always thought of love, at least for me, as a spark. What most characterized this was the myth of the meeting of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Yoko, mounting one of her genius art shows. One of the pieces was the ladder in the gallery. John Lennon climbs the ladder and looking through the spyglass sees the small script affixed to the ceiling.
And he knows he has met his soul mate. The affirmation of the word, to travel up to the highest point only to receive the simplicity of her statement. In 1966 the word “yes” was a manifesto. It was enough to be an entire worldview. It could be the answer to any question the climber might possibly be thinking as they ascend the steps.
That is exactly what I thought love was. At the most basic, love was like two circles of thoughts, ideas, emotions that find a common space. It was two thought bubbles bursting into one.
I waited for this to happen to me. Sending my writings and thoughts off into the void. Into the dusky crevices of bars, trading my own writing to hopefully get a “yes” in graduate school. Embracing strangers as if they had caught me from a fall off of a ladder. I believed.
ART AND THE WIKID
Then one day, I looked up Yoko Ono on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoko_Ono) . I had seen her exhibition “YES” in San Francisco at the SFMOMA. I had bought her thought sculptures or heuristic conceptual art book, “Grapefruit” for friends in art school as a map. I had bypassed all of the conjecture about her place “breaking up the Beatles” or “being imperious.” I figured her as being a very political woman, who lived, and still does live, in the midst of many strong characters in music and history. I didn’t know much about her, beyond that she had found the moment I was looking for, and that it had been mythologized. Two brilliant people meeting, falling into an understanding that surpasses culture, time, space, and even perhaps language.
Perhaps I was naïve, or maybe just self-aggrandizing, that I believed that there was someone out there who would hear my words and understand deeply. They would climb my ladder and hear my eternal yes.
On Wikipedia I got a dose of something different than my lovely little perfectly folded origami of a story. Wikipedia had another version of history, that states that Yoko Ono had been working hard to pursue John Lennon, and that there was no “yes moment” as I had imagined, and that instead he thought she was interesting but did not climb that ladder and have a massive love epiphany. Two years later they got together, and like most lovers, their story springs from a moment of fiction that has importance only because of the fact that their narrative carried into the future.
There is also an aspect to Yoko’s art that alters her meeting with John Lennon. For an artist interested in “happenings” and “events” it seems that connection for her is art, and perhaps in the topsy turvy way that art is self referential, her meeting and subsequent relationship with Lennon is in itself an artistic event, unable to be separated from the “yes” moment.
And this is not to dis on Wikipedia, but it would be similar to looking for the Tooth Fairy and having the entry state that it is your mom and dad.
HEARTS OF GOLD–CUZ WE’RE GETTIN’ OLDER
No one will ever know the truth, since whatever happens between two people is contentious even between those two. For months I missed my Yoko and John story, the elements so clean and tailored. An artists’ version of, “I saw her across the crowded room, and I knew that eternally s/he would be mine.” I loved my John and Yoko story because it was deeper that the story of, “let me tell you the story of how I met your mother.” It was deeper than, “I read her profile online and she seemed interesting. Or like a decent person.” Or more and more accurately of late in our modern society ,“he didn’t seem like a psycho killer.” Or “I saw her across the bar, and damn, I have been looking forever for a woman that good looking who had a Heart of Gold.” Ok, so I obviously hate Neil Young. Not Neil Young but the song “Heart of Gold.” If I ever get that on another mixed tape from a man, it is a no go.
DON’T READ THIS PART IF YOU ARE A NEIL YOUNG FAN:
The song Heart of Gold is about a jaded ass-baboon who wants his idealized version of a pure heart. It is this kind of man who loved under aged girls (so innocent, so untainted!) and who loved the movie “Leaving Las Vegas.” Yeah, there are so many hookers with large breasts and even larger snow white hearts who want to watch your sorry ass drink itself to death! Because you are so troubled, and we are just very happy to have attention without getting paid for it!!! (I also hate the movie The Unforgiven, but I shall save that for another post.)
LOVE IS LIKE A TIGER IN THE ZOO
So where does it end? Am I, god forbid, “jaded?” Not really. I think that most of the truly amazing moments are dependent upon what moments are: temporal. And that connection continues to happen in this world, not just at the top of ladders. I think in writing this my motive is persuasion. That everyone who reads it looks around for their own “yes” moment and holds it dear—as the strange little exotic animal it is—an eye to eye understanding that perhaps we only see on safari through this modern culture of ours.