Sketchbooks were my first camera. I’m a scribbler, a tinkerer, a photographer with a background in drawing. They say the human eye looks at the rate of over 100,000 movements per day, and I journal like that. I am seeing and forgetting in this very moment, collecting and combining fragments of image and memory.
Your daughters will live like you do.
I came home about 45 min ago. A golden mid-twenties fellow with a pained look, gauged ears and beautiful eyebrows has been working on a car in front of my house for about a week now. His children have played each evening in the falling dusk beneath the Hong Kong Orchid that rules the sidewalk.
As I waved hello and wished his repairing well again, he profusely thanked me. Our exchange is giving me flashbacks to being one of those kids on the sidewalk while a car is operated on. I also identify with the frustration that a young adult overburdened with responsibilities suddenly compounded with a broken vehicle experiences. I too have been inordinately grateful for not being kicked while down, and hope that he returns the favor next time he identifies with someone having trouble. The world appears to be falling into quite a state of flags being staked and I'm not into it. This land is our land and I'll consider public space as such and treat people accordingly.
The car has just roared off and already I miss the sound of children playing in front of the house. His smile may have been just as much about seeing the end of the job approaching as it was my kindness. That thought also makes me smile while observing my own human hubris. Today, I pulled an image of myself at about 6 years old from facebook and posted it on my instagram account with the caption "me, remembering to be kind to myself" It's true, I forget that the little person in that photo, barefoot and clutching a raccoon doll in an orchard that would soon be cut down, is still inside of me. She deserves the same love and attention that I give to others.
I remember that photo being taken. I see the warmth of my father’s thumb covering part of the lens while noticing that he cut off my feet. I didn't trust him then, and still jump to the conclusion that he was likely high when this photo was taken. But now, I can’t ignore the fact that he wanted a photo of me. I won’t ignore that on some day in the mid 1980’s, my Pops implored me to stay, to stand still for a second on a retrospectively gorgeous summer afternoon.
The intense mixture of discomfort and love that I still see on his face no longer signals that he’s not trustworthy. It means he loves even though it’s strange. That is not his fault nor is it mine. The ways that he is or isn’t able to express care are longer not enough. I have this photograph with the light shining through his skin and a look on my face that very likely mirrors his.
In 2013, I spent a summer as a graduate student at MICA in Baltimore making short videos about being in real time and digital space.
First post on Gift Horses
My ex lover died yesterday morning. He simply didn't wake up from a Burrough's dream, just like that, his ticking slowed and stopped. When we first met in high school I was working at a subway sandwich shop on Chapman Hwy (my first job as an "artist" lol). Every night he'd come sit with me while I closed up and counted down; sketching in our little black books, telling jokes and stating insecurities, our family anecdotes falling like crusty stalamite tears in full teenage disclosure. I fell in love with him when he drew this gelastic penis and vagina waving to each other, goofy big head and lashed eyes wide, and then later twister, and morning with the light still on. He lived with me at my mum's, then we shared our first real home on Laurel Ave. apt 2. We were hortoculturists, and had dogs in the manner of children. There weren't too many roaches. Both Piscean. He was born on Feb. 29th, 1980, and missed having a real birthday 3 of 4 years. Not bad days. Wonderful mesh. He believed in a twisted Catholic truth of the nuclear family, much like my father, and was bloody during the break-up from self-inflicted melodrama. His eyes were gray like his last name, and he drank in earnest torture. He would call me and recite Bukowski poetry with a crackling tone. We were 19 and 20.
He forgave me eventually, and an understanding was reached. He was my book guru, and always available to talk me through a panic. He burned Peanut Butter Wolf and Hank Williams cds, then folded them into hand-drawn envelopes. We got high together sometimes, and he would tell me how proud he was of me for going to school, for being "type a", for pushing and getting it done, for moving away, for making it out. Sometimes he would be crude and insulting, a Jekyll/Hyde snide and sly. But, I often took his advice saltily if not affectionately, trusting his sharp criticisms. He loved trains, paid attention to details, schooled me in loving clanking beasts, and drew letters for me to copy. He was the most sarcastic fucker I have ever known. When I heard the news I sat down and my heart beat a rabbit drum, snatched breaths, and I was pissed.
I saw him in person last summer, all humid TN June filtered lemon light in my memory. I wore a polka dot dress to have him retouch my tattoo. He was pleased, flattered that I'd dress nicely to have him work on me. We had always shared a sense of decorum so he lifted his hat and gave me a little bow across the dusty parking lot. He told me my shoulder blades were sticking out as the gun buzzed across the points of bone, and delicately wiped the seeping ink away. We went to Strawberry Plains quarry, pushed through water thick with alge, and saw a coyote. We talked about ornamental plants and line qualities, Chinue Achebe and Amy Hempel books. After I left to come out west he moved to Virgina, Boston, then back to Knoxville in my father's abandoned airstream trailer. His dog ran away, he called me crying on ecstacy while driving too fast on Henley St. His self destruction shimmered all around. He told me he'd always love me, that we were family. He died of an overdose yesterday morning. May he rest in peace.