You collect them. One was stolen from a neighborhood
house empty of all traces of its previous owners except
the crystal knob on the hallway door and the thin
iron key. Whoever bought the house wouldn’t care
about the lives lived in it before, or the echoes of footfall
or the way long shadows took on the shapes of those
who no longer sit at the tables or gaze out the windows. You Continue reading
My talented singer-songwriter friend Heather Taylor recently invited me to collaborate with her on one of her songs. Jesse Hamm of Acoustic Asheville filmed this video of her performing “Up on a Mountain” with my poem “Collar of Wasps” in the middle.
“Spooky house” by Wayne Woodruff. See his photos here.
This neighborhood had a name before it was colonized by Trader Joe’s and an endless stream of SUV traffic. Just because no one who lives here now can remember what it was called doesn’t mean you get to rename it.
You build your house on a graveyard and act surprised when the ghosts move into your hot tub, your gourmet kitchen, your wood-fired pizza oven. There’s a reason why houses from a hundred years ago had such small closets: no space for the dearly departed.
The ancestors are not impressed with your two-car garage, your home yoga studio, your posh amnesia. If you don’t call a place by its true name, you’ll dream of its former inhabitants. You’ll wake to them rattling like mice in your walls.
I started making these collages to say something that I couldn’t write down. Beauty is marred, the perception of women is a false narrative, we live in a world that neither honors nor protects what it loves. In the many and loud and frequent calls to change the government by voting Republicans out, I can’t help but think about how heavily North Carolina is gerrymandered and that the Equal Rights Amendment still has not been ratified. So yes, I’ll vote. And no, I don’t believe all votes count equally. I wish I believed that, but I don’t.
Below are my digital collages (in order) of “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer, “Portrait of an Unknown Woman” by Ivan Kramskoi, “Portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci” by Leonardo da Vinci, and “Pinkie” by Thomas Lawrence. The choice to use famous works by white male artists was intentional.
Pete was not a good friend, in that he was neither very good nor very much of a friend. He was the kind of kid who came over to your house and drank your cough syrup. He was the kind of kid whose parents never knew where he was and weren’t too worried about it.
Photo from firedepartment.org
We met at All County Band, where I was third-chair flute and he was not in band at all, but was riding a contraband skateboard through the hallway. I was bored with John Phillips Sousa and the (marginally cooler alternative) Beverly Hills Cop theme song. I was over the competition of All County Band and the nervous knowing that I was only third-chair flute by some fluke. Not because I was good. I wasn’t good because I didn’t practice. Continue reading