I have a tree painted on the back of my garage with leaves made from pieces of soda cans, stapled loosely so that they rustle delightfully in the breeze. Against the trunk is painted ‘The wind of change may not blow you someplace different but it might shape you into something more beautiful’. I write this on the cusp between the Covid shutdowns and the George Floyd riots. Many businesses have been shuttered so long they may not survive. Some have been so impacted by the new health restrictions imposed on reopening, they have given up. Now we see others burned or looted out of existence and yet others may be unwilling to continue in some neighborhoods. I have a friend who has been through several careers. She describes the changes as getting to a point where she needed to reinvent herself. This year it seems many will need to reinvent themselves or make adjustments to how they live or work. One of the adjustments I’ve been considering is to make some work more easily shippable, so it is less prohibitive to sell online. I decided to experiment a little with refractured acrylics on canvas; lighter weight than panels, but also a different medium for the refractured part. The first experiment (above) was relatively successful. Another couple items that came out of spending time at home was an update to ‘Busting the Bard’. This is now available in paperback and kindle from Amazon. And the fourth poetry and painting book ‘My Next Breath’ is close to being complete. (Click here for links.) It is available as a paperback but my proofreader and the person writing an intro on the back have yet to have time to do this, so there will be an update hopefully by the end of this week and I’ll create the kindle version then. I’ll order hard copies once art fairs restart or other outlets need restocking, but if you’d like to get a signed copy let me know.
I will have work in two online shows: Jun 6-Jul 12: 6x6x2020 Online fundraiser for Rochester Contemporary Art Center Jun 2nd-Aug 30th (approx) The Planet of Joy at Lark Gallery Online. This may develop into a physical gallery show next month and I should be on a Q&A Virtual Art Talk on Zoom soon. I’ll send another email when this is set.
Some things just fall out of the end of the pen…..
When I’m dead
You’ll be the first I’ll visit when I’m dead.
I guess that you’ll be waiting there for me
and we can say all that we’ve left unsaid
about things that were never meant to be.
You’ll get the joke I never did tell right,
unless we’re in a place jokes can’t be told.
You’ll know that fuss I made was not a fight,
and love that would have stayed as we grow old –
because it did, despite lives that diverged
for reasons that need never be explained.
Each time I thought of death, my feelings surged
that it would be when I see you again.
You’ll be the first I’ll visit when I’m through
and then you’ll know I wrote this one for you.
I decided to spent some of my new free time to call people I haven’t seen in a while, or have stopped seeing in the course of life because of the social distancing. I also decided to use the time for some more poetry. On Sunday afternoon I sat down to write a poem but didn’t find any inspiration, so I decided to call someone. I got voicemail. So I called someone else. Ditto. Eight voicemails later, I had my inspiration.
A quiet day with little going on,
in Covid times the schedule is quite bare.
I miss my friends, hope they have not become
statistics with what’s going on out there.
I guess they also won’t have much to do
so thought I’d be the one that would reach out,
pick up the phone and say “Hey, how are you?”
not leave our friendship’s worth to me in doubt.
But all I got was voicemails! Every one!
Had I missed out on something? Checked the news…
there’s really nothing different going on!
I guess just me that’s sat here with the blues.
They’ll all call back at once, that’s what they’ll do
And get my outgoing voicemail message too!
Got the inspiration for this one while doing a little clean up for my absent neighbor. I was working early in the morning before it got way to hot, even for the acclimated desert rat, to be doing yardwork. I decided to turn the inspiration into a kid’s summer day because the first line had a bit better ring than ‘I caught the sun while grubbing in the yard…..’
Catching the sun
You caught the sun, you held it like a ball
in two-year hands – a shining rounded joy
so newly given, a perfect rolling toy
and never thought that it would burn at all.
Your retina was blotched from gazing up,
your shoulders burned, your face, your arms, your knees
from summer’s day your heart demand you sieze
to dance beneath the heated turquoise cup
of sky. And as earth rolled round to sunset
you played your heart out, flew it like a kite
upon the solar wind, til it grew night
and tiredness told you it was time for bed.
Your red face says you caught the sun today.
Your smile, that it was worth it just to play.
As light rises
My eyes fall
Upon his temple
Arm raised to ease the pain
Of the damage of an old storm,
Lips pursed against
A dream he won’t remember
Of last night’s worship
With the temple of my own soul’s abode
Happy that these buildings
Are now anchored together
And hoping to join against
The weather of life times
As long as they stand.
Having gotten to the point in life where I can order from the senior menu, I was eligible to enter the 55+ show “Visions: A gathering of Elders”, and this was it turned out the last time I was able to go to a gathering before the world imploded. True that people were observing precautions such as elbow bumps vs. handshakes, but otherwise it seems that the elder wisdom was the same as for having a bad cold. Don’t cough on people, and go home and feel sorry for yourself for two weeks.
A few years back I was travelling from Southern California for a show in Bellevue – right next door to Seattle. It’s a two day drive, pretty much up the entire west coast of the US. I had kinda planned on stopping just north of the Oregon border, but didn’t make firm plans as I figured I wasn’t sure if my tiredness would get me that far, or my awakeness would let me press on further. I’d actually spotted a well-priced motel in my aim area, and sure enough, just as California disappeared in the rear view mirror, the eyelids started to droop.
I pulled off the road at what appeared to be a motel-bearing town in this rural stretch of Interstate 5. Miraculously I passed the very motel I’d seen on the internet. The parking lot was only half full. It was late, though. The office only had a dim light on. I knocked on the door. In a few moments the motel clerk appeared.
In fairness to the man, he was obviously of Indian origin – India Indian, not Native American. Different culture. I asked ‘Is there room at the inn?’ ‘No,’ he replied. Oh, ok, nevermind, I thanked him and turned to leave. I’d gotten as far as the truck when he came out after me. ‘I have room at the other end!’ Huh?
Turns out he’d misheard me as ‘Is there room at the end?’ and had completely missed the Christmas reference! In his further defense, he’d only been in the US about 5 months.
We all tend to get a little bit bitchy when we’re setting up. Everything has to look nice, plus we have a deadline to get set up, and we’re perhaps discovering something that’s forgotten or broken or misplaced. Maybe we’ve had to wait in line a long time to get loaded in.
Last year at Sedona, there was a couple in the booth across from me who were setting up. I’d not met them before and no, I don’t remember their names, so this is incognito. This husband and wife team had a range of items, some of which went on a panel on the back wall of the booth, and many that went on tables at the front. As they were working together, they were constantly bickering. This goes here, that goes there, where’s such and such, I need your help with this, I can’t I’m busy doing that. On and on.
After about 30 minutes of listening to this banter, which was getting increasingly harsh, I walked over to them and asked “Do I need to throw a bucket of water over you two?” Turns out a good laugh did help, though they admitted that though they have been married many years and still love each other, they’re usually at each other’s throats during setup.