Many of my paintings contain written word, poetry, or prose, sometimes visible, sometimes buried into the texture.
“Assembly: The act of connecting together parts, a group of people, a gathering. Raise your glass, friend, smile at me from across the table, break the bread, share with me your triumphs, your worries, your thoughts. Sit and be nourished by what our neighbors have offered. Delight in what others bring to the table, learn new things, explore all the flavor. Find here the gifts that feed body and soul. We have curated our lives, assembled our chosen family, built our community. Raise your glass friend, celebrate this place, these people, this life.”
“We’ve planted our seeds, found our roots, spread our branches in this place. We are tangled, connected, supported as we grow together. We are together friend. “
"What My Body Carries"
All that is horrible in the world lives in my teeth. They are heavy and achey and foreign, full of blackness. They crumble and crack, one by one, large chunks disappear to god knows where as I clench and grind and chew. I carry this pain in my mouth. I dream of hundreds of crumbled teeth. I use my fingers to sweep, like you might for a choking child, searching out every crevice, hidden nook or pocket but I cannot clear them, I am rendered unable to speak for the debris.
All my fear lives in my right scapula. Pinching and pulling, knotted muscles spasm with personal conflict. My shoulder bending under the weight, my spine twisting, my breath squashed, my body contorted like the painting of a tormented man. The pain traveling down my bicep, through my elbow and into my thumb.
All my thoughts are tangled in my hair. I move through the room and my curly halo collects them from the air, soft, furry tentacles reaching out, gathering them up so I can decide which ones I want to let in.
All my love sits just below my navel, like a pit, heavy and dark, the conception of everything, waiting to be delved into, cradled by my pelvis, rocked by my legs, cushioned by my soft belly. A globe of obsidian. A portal to another place. Both everything and nothing at all.
All my grace is in my feet. The long thin bones flex and grip and climb nimbly propelling me to new places. My heels padded, forgiving the weight of the whole body above as I strike the earth with every step. Toenails hard and strong, cutting holes through the shoes I’ve always loathed to wear. The restriction of shoestrings unbearable.
All my joy lives in my hands. Running my open palm across another’s body, caressing an old dry animal bone, the cracks in my fingers covered with paint and metal leafing, soil filling in the space underneath each fingernail after digging in the garden, palms raised to the sky inviting those things that have yet to be.
All the sounds live in my throat, Om Shanti, Om Namah Shivaya, Hallelujah, Alḥamdulillāh, Towdah, Grandmother Moon, asking to receive all that there is and all that ever was.
All the abundance fills my eyes, they are weighted by the deluge, raining down over my cheekbones and dripping off my chin like peach juice. Lucious and greedy, consuming the lavish blessings surrounding me.
There is space yet beneath my breastplate, in between the bones of my knees, inside my ear. Space to carry that which is to come.
“Fucking Is The Only Prayer”
I think of the day when you are dead and gone
and I can have your bones.
I will cradle the bone of your hip in the palm of my hand
and remember it’s sharpness against my thigh
when we were young and beautiful and needed each other
and spent our days in and out of the bed
in and out of each other
working and then fucking
and it was all the same thing.;
fucking to flow,
fucking to feel alive,
fucking to stave off that fear
that creeps in at the edges.
It was worship;
seeking and desiring,
joyful and thankful,
fucking is the only prayer
thank you, oh thank you, thank you
are the words on my lips
(and I love you, but those words I keep inside)
You say I saved your life.
but you don’t tell me how.
You talk of your own death as if at any moment
you will just divorce yourself from this world
be gone from mine
I can only dream of having your bones when it is done.
It’s the lie I tell myself (among many lies)
I will hold that bone and feel it’s weight and texture
and all that was holy about you will rest in the palm of my hand
the same prayer still on my lips
thank you, oh thank you, thank you.
I stand, watering the garden
flowers bow their heads under the blessing,
the dogs are rolling in the grass
the fish are jumping
the river running low and warm
ferny forests and little white flowers on its edge
cottonwood leaves shimmering overhead
these are the days I live for
the sweet light of dusk,
the last golden glow skipping across the water
children laughing in the distance
the heron stands alone on a rock.
“The Last Day”
Tell them I loved this place,
the silver river running by
and the fish jumping
and the sweet dogs next-door rolling,
glee in the grass.
I hid glass beads in the reeds,
and left behind painted slate for stepping stones,
little delights to be discovered by the next.
I stand on the last night,
my feet on the slick rock,
in the ferny underwater forest,
minnows nibbling my toes,
darting around their mossy world.
The water is low,
slender stemmed white flowers poke out of the water,
like mini alpine lotus.
The sun is setting,
the geese across the way
nesting on the sandbar,
the heron flying overhead,
prehistorically large like a pterodactyl,
my river otter fishing,
and I know
they will love this place too.