Beyond Carravaggio

I was sitting in a café opposite St Martin in the Fields, it was quiet and I was thinking about going to see the Caravaggio exhibition at the National Gallery. Rows of red buses were heading down Shaftesbury Avenue. Black taxi cabs with a cyclops yellow light turned slowly into Charing Cross. Across the road a young homeless couple were stirring from their blue sleeping bags with a look of bemusement, followed by disappointment. 
I took out a photo of you looking out to sea. Your acorn coloured eyes, shining in the bright sunlight, unseen by me. A delivery truck of food arrives and fills the parking bay. A man wearing a high vis jacket whistles to himself as he drags a pushcart full of coke bottles along the pavement. They rattle as he pulls them over the cobble stones and the aco drain. St Martin’s bell rings for 11am and the waitress brings me another flat white. 

I imagine you laughing, effervescent and somehow electrically charged. I know I would receive a shock or a jolt of some kind if I were to touch your hand, or arm, or face.

A busker sets up outside and starts playing his clarinet. He plays an old jazz standard I can’t place, but it somehow sets the tone for the day. The bus driver on the 139 to Waterloo waves at him and the busker nods. I wonder how they know each other? Or maybe the driver’s just being friendly because it’s that kind of day? A day to see colour. A day to hear bottles rattle and bells chime and people whistle. A day when taxis line up in anticipation, rather than queue in boredom. A day when the sun refreshes and warms, rather than stifles the city air. A day when, despite the impossibility of circumstances, something magical happens between objects. For after all, what are objects? What are we? Are we not just dense matter, spun with a little alchemy and a song?

My coffee cup is empty now, but your eyes are full. St Martin’s clock strikes 12pm. I leave a tip for the waitress and head ‘Beyond Caravaggio.’

©DMM @national_gallery



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