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READ: "What is Peace" by Ladon Alex

Ladon Alex, shot by Dioni Rodriguez for Downtown 500.

The following piece was written by artist Ladon Alex for Downtown 500.

“What is peace? I don’t really know. At least, I couldn’t tell you. I could show you, though. Show you how my eyes glaze over when this paint brush is in my hand, see how lost I become. You can see the time pass and you can see how that has little effect on me; it’s wind running through a canyon. You can see how controlled my breathing is, how in tune my hand is with my thoughts. The mistakes I make might reflect on my face as an occasional grimace, an eye twitch, a slow blink. But those are forgotten instances. The concentration makes me deaf to the world around me. The jazz dancing around my room from the instruments of Ornette Coleman hardly makes it’s way through my ears; it is a game of hide-and-seek, and I will find those instruments when I put my brush down for the day. The vent in my room likes to join in, but it’s humming is swallowed up by Coleman’s trumpet, a feeling I am familiar with on longer nights. But right now I am working. Painting. Sweating. The fan spins silently above me, it mocks me almost. See how I float on air when my hands are dirty and my brushes are working tirelessly? See how my body forgets what discomfort feels like? My body knows peace much better than my mouth knows the words for it. I will work for a few more hours, I will let myself feel something beyond the physical. I will go to sleep and I will wake up the next day and jump right back into that dimension between this world and transcension. I do not know how to tell someone what peace is, but if you watch me make something you will have seen what peace looks like. It might merely be a conversation with a part of ourselves we ignore too often.”

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