Sunday, March 19, 2006

Faced By...

Elegance floats by like a cloud. Hair, like a clear waterfall, softly cascades over carefree shoulders and down a perfectly sloped back. Eyes, like emeralds set in the finest china, framed by lashes of peacock feather. She is perfection beyond reason, beauty beyond heartbreak, delicacy beyond subtlety – innocence too fragile to handle.

Dirt sits in a cardboard box, wrapped in a soiled wool coat many sizes too big, its pockets with room enough for a pint but not room enough for a penny. A face rougher than his wool coat frames eyes red from constipated tears. The only smoothness this face knows is a scar cutting through his left cheek. But that scar is nothing compared to the scars underneath; it is what we call, “the tip of the iceberg”.

I watch as Elegance crosses the street. She walks naturally, artlessness too artful to articulate. Dirt sits with a head bowed, surrendered in submission, oblivious to Elegance’s presence. She walks passed him. He sees her shoes, looks up and, though it is hard to tell for certain from this distance, their eyes meet. He lethargically looks away. She quickly rummages in her purse, and, without getting too close, flips him a coin, a silver one I think.

The next day the same thing happens. The day after, she walks up to him with a steaming cup of coffee and a sandwich. He knocks the coffee out of her hand, spilling it on her skirt. Elegance has not been elegantly treated. She turns away and I see her face. Her lips tremble, her eyes let a single tear. I watch as it softly rides down her cheek and hangs from her jaw. There is a sadness I see that makes you want to smack Dirt for causing it. Slowly she walks away while he turns his head to the side and the cap off his bottle.

Night passes away and dawn is born. Dirt’s alarm clock is shining its rays and the city awakes. I watch all day, but Elegance doesn’t show. Is that a fidgetiness I see under the oversized coat? I don’t know; but he has definitely smoked more cigarettes today than I have ever seen him smoke before.

Another day passes without Elegance’s showing and Dirt is definitely showing signs of impatience. I know this because for the first time his eyes seem to be seeing things.

As the moon spotlight’s the stage called Earth, shining almost directly unto Dirt, I see that familiar walk of Elegance, making its way towards the spotlight. Dirt, with the moonbeam blinding his eyes, cannot see Elegance approach. When she stops in front of him, and he sees her shoes, his head snaps up, the quickest and surest move I’ve seen him make yet. Elegance bends down, grabs Dirt by the shoulder of his coat, and pulls him to his feet. He wobbles and falls on her. She almost collapses under his weight, but ever so elegantly steadies herself until he is leaning on her in more ways than one.

They walk together, he dirtily, she elegantly. I follow at a safe distance. I don’t want them knowing they are being watched. They cross the bridge. They aren’t talking; just walking. They walk into the park. They walk down the main path, walked by thousands every day; but, if I’m not mistaken, it looks as if they are walking along their own path, as if no one has ever walked it before. Passed the pond they go (while I’m pondering), and when they stop to look into the still water, I can see their countenances reflected: what an unlikely couple they make, he with his hard face and perpetual snarl, she with here soft innocence and hopeful expectations.

As they continue on to no apparent destination, I realize that this journey is the destination.

After a period beyond time has passed, they sit under a tree. Dirt looks at Elegance and lifts a calloused hand to his prickly chin. In a fluid motion Dirt peels away chin, cheek, and face – roughness and scardom give way to purity and naturalness. There is a glow emanating from his being, as if someone lit a candle in a dark room, or, more accurately, blew the dust from a bright diamond.

I am stunned. Elegance, however, seems not to be. And, as I watch, I see why:

In the light of “Dirt’s” face, I see Elegance: she lifts a delicate hand to her fragile chin. In a shaky motion, Elegance peels away chin, cheek, and face – beauty and delicacy give way to reality and truth. It is not about the face of Elegance anymore – how could it be when Dirt himself is faceless – now it is about two people, formerly known as Dirt and Elegance, who sit under a tree somewhere in a park passed the bridge, looking at each other for the first time. Now they don’t “face” each other; all they do is be.

And as I, the Spectator, walk away from the whole fiasco, I reach up, peel, and toss my face into the pile of retro-faces. I feel the rush of fresh air on my “cheeks”, and though the story goes on and on for all eternity, the Spectator gets buried under retro-face after retro-face, and must therefore cease telling that which he can no longer see.

Just face it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again you outdid yourself. The imagery...word choice. FANTASTIC!

3/19/2006 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where all the faces go, false and otherwise.

3/19/2006 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great writing!
Start pushing yourself more aggresivley -- the blogsphere is in desperate need!

3/19/2006 7:06 PM  
Anonymous i not telling who said...

i didnt read it but im sure the previous three anons are just rying to kiss up cuz it probably sux. but i do see the word cheeks towards the end. jake? whens the last time u felt your cheeks?

3/20/2006 1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jakey will you marry me? :)

3/20/2006 2:06 AM  
Blogger subjewd said...

Jakey, I'm becoming your fan, and wondering if one day you'll let me into your fanclub (mind)

3/20/2006 2:14 AM  
Anonymous Jakeys Biggest Fan said...

Speak to me. I'm working on some " I love Jakey" t-shirts.

3/20/2006 2:19 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

i'm blushing. but hey its not my real face.

(berk i'm gonna kill you)

3/20/2006 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Proposer said...

Ok. Just to clarify... was that a no?

3/20/2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

ok lets get married.

but i want a small wedding with "i love jakey tshirts", and we are only inviting anonymous guests.

3/21/2006 3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont get the last line- just face it
doesnt seem to fit the style?

3/21/2006 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna try posting it on shmais but I dont think " Jakey engaged to Anonymous" is gonna work. So whens our lchiam? I need to go shopping for a dress :)

3/21/2006 4:15 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Goodd to actually meet you tonight....

And now for the critisism you requested...

I don't understand the eventual getting toghether of Elegance and Dirt, in the context of him spilling coffee all over her???

3/22/2006 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Him spilling coffee on her was showing Elegance that he did not need her. It was him throwing kindness back in her face, literally. Right?

3/22/2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...


thats why "he KNOCKS the coffee out of her hand"; he doesnt just spill it.

3/22/2006 10:21 PM  
Blogger Ilana said...

I think its very good. If you do want honest feedback I would say: change a lot of your word choices. It would make your whole approach much more sophisticated. Remove adverbs like "he dirtily, she elegantly" and maybe omit the part about Dirt becoming more impatient and elaborate on that part to do some more "showing instead of telling" as the old adage goes. Not always true but in this case I think it would add a lot.

Just my humble opinions, take them with however many grains of salt as you wish. I think it is a great concept and there are many well written parts.

3/22/2006 11:34 PM  
Blogger the sabra said...

I liked this piece.

3/23/2006 7:45 AM  
Blogger BFF said...

permission to reprint an article?
i'm gonna do it anyway.
the one about beard's wedding... why write something original when u've said it all before?
thanks for permission

3/23/2006 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Leah said...

Keep it up- this stuff is for REAL!

3/24/2006 1:07 PM  
Anonymous TRM said...


3/24/2006 5:04 PM  
Anonymous sempem said...


Hey mendel,

a teacher once screamed at his class "spectators, get a life"

3/26/2006 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Yossi said...

Beautiful, as always.
I thikn Simon Jacobson once wrote a beautiful article about spectators. It was post Simchas Torah two (three?) years ago. Something to the affect of don't be an "observant" Jew, be an "active" Jew. You can look it up on his website.......

3/30/2006 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for allowing me to look at his website. i was waiting my whole life for this oppurtunity.

3/30/2006 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jakey great job!

4/02/2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger Sculpt Me said...

I like this idea- elegance and dirt only exist in the context of the other. "its not about the face of elegance anymore- how could it be when Dirt himself is faceless" When there is no dirt, how do you determine what is elegant? Our perception of Ms. Elegant is relative to what is not.
Very nice choice for "peeling away chin, cheek, and face." literally pulling at the skin...
I want to ask you where you are positioned during this story. As the observer, who are you? where are you watching from? why are you so interested in watching these strangers? what compels you to follow them?
also: hey come check out my blog :-)

4/03/2006 11:59 PM  
Anonymous scarface said...

revel in the revelation that could only come about through a relation so intense words escape. yes let it be. perhaps in the messianic era, we will see. for now reality is the scar that can be felt by hands, seen by eyes, that separate the yous from the mes.

4/04/2006 12:29 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

i am the observer of life. i watch from my perspective. i follow not by choice, but because every story must have a witness - lest the story not be told and, therefore, remain true only to its characters. with my "spectation" i too become a character - as do you with your reading.

4/04/2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger EATING POETRY said...

You are a really good writer, you have great style. I love the flow, the words just tumble one after the other. I like the metaphore... it's surreal.

It's funny, but this reminds me of a peice I once wrote for a writing group. It was called "Grey" and it was about faces as well.

4/05/2006 1:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home