(an imagined conversation
with Pablo Neruda

 texts by Pablo Neruda and Mike Schertzer
in white chalk

       Epitopou 19
July 1st - August 28th, 2019
residence (July 1st -8th)

Livadia (Andros), Greece


complete text
(pdf / en)
photos de l'installation

for I was born in order to be born, to contain
the steps of all that approaches,
of all that beats on my breast like a new trembling heart

                          - Pablo Neruda

                          held briefly
                          in arms where the moist and                           trembling quiet of memory
                          comes unbound from the                           throb of what cannot live
                          in the space of a single life

                                                         - Mike Schertzer

The title of this work is Confluence.

Confluence means flowing together. Think of two rivers merging, intermingling.

Fluent means the ability to express oneself clearly.

Confluence... Speaking together. A conversation.

I have never been to Andros, nor to Greece. As a foreigner I have arrived on your shore. We speak different languages... but, is a conversation possible?

It has been said that poetry is the natural language of the human spirit. And so, I have used poetry, specifically, an imagined conversation between the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and myself, to express this desire for speaking together...

Confluence: you and I, Greece and I, Andros and I.

I have used white chalk. It is a humble material. It is ephemeral... like all of our efforts. And so we must be present and find value in what is temporary. This is all we have.

Here, with this wall, I am not conversing with the past. I have not written on the walls of a glorious ruin, but on concrete. I am speaking with what lives and breathes today. No other conversation is possible.

A river was here, now it is gone. And so I converse with what remains, with what resists, with what sleeps and wakes in this river's bed.

I would like to thank Eva Bony and Christian Bony and all the artists and collaborators of Epitopou 2019 (in particular Sofia Chrysafopoulou, Roula Matar-Perret, Dmitri Tzikopoulos, and Effi Yannopoulou)... and most of all, to you, the people of Andros, for welcoming me and offering me the chance to dare this conversation, this confluence.

                  - M.S.

text in Greek (pdf)
(translated by Effi Yannopoulou)



Poetry is Disaster 

Mike Schertzer 1997 - 2023