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Flower Series #4: Emflower Thyself

January 9, 2012

mixed-media collage

Flower Series #3: Rain Flowers

August 22, 2011

mixed-media on wood panel

Rain Flowers

Flower Series #2: Go With the Flow-er

August 15, 2011

mixed-media on wood panel

Go With the Flow – er

Rage

August 11, 2011

    

mixed-media and personification

mixed-media and personification

     Rage is the sister of Betrayal. She shared her love with Arrogance and found it the next day crumpled and torn in the garbage. Wounded and sad, she mistook Cruelty for Tenderness and asked for his help removing the dagger from her heart. Instead, he drove the dagger deeper until it unleashed a storm of self-destruction that blew entire cities in her soul to smithereens. Now, Rage lives in the dark corners of rooms, counting and recounting the hurts she keeps in a tiny blue box, filed in alphabetical order.
     Rage stays hidden until she senses another wounding on the horizon, no matter how small. Then, she whips herself out from the darkened corners where she lives and snatches it from your fingers, like a pearl from an oyster, before you even know what has happened. She sniffs and coddles the fresh wound like a newborn baby and spends hours selecting its name. Ever so carefully, she finds its rightful place in her tiny blue box and tucks it in.
     Rage defends her hurts like a mother wolf, baring her razor sharp teeth at anything that threatens to wake them from their peaceful slumber. She sharpens words on stones and swallows them whole, rendering herself speechless. Each night she howls hollowly at the moon, a silent bellowing that rattles the stars and sends some into death spirals across the sky.
     What Rage hungers for most is Understanding, but her ravenous appetite keeps her from getting close to him anymore. Sometimes, she thinks he might be nearby, but when she reaches out to grab onto him, her hands come up empty, and she realizes he wasn’t there at all. She calls out to him in her dreams, but her words are muted and her movements erratic. The more she runs toward him, the more distant his image grows.

Flower Series # 1

July 1, 2011

mixed-media on wood panel

Speak of Beautiful Things and Carry a Big Flower

Acceptance

June 29, 2011

  

mixed-media and personification

mixed-media and personification

       Acceptance is often ignored when he knocks, much like a solicitor. You stand just behind the curtains holding your breath, not moving, hoping he’ll just go away, which he does. He knows that’s just how it is at the moment. It’s not surprising the number of times he is brushed away like a mosquito. He looks about as interesting and entertaining as a pot holder. His countenance pales compared to the scintillating personality and verbosity of Illusion, whom you just happen to be hosting for the weekend. Not to brag or anything, but you’re actually hosting several Illusions, the cognoscenti of Illusions, as a matter of fact. It’s an Illusion-studded bacchanal. 
     Acceptance lives a quiet life with his partner Patience and their two dogs. They live in a fixer-upper which they are sometimes fixing up and sometimes not. Acceptance doesn’t mind the clog in the kitchen sink or the crack in the living room ceiling. He says to the clog, “Right now, you’re a clog. It won’t always be that way. But, for now, just be a clog. That’s what you are.” He says to the crack, “You’re a crack. So, be cracked. Be cracked until you aren’t anymore. If you need space to grow, well, by all means say so.” When you finally let Acceptance in, he treats you in the same way.
     Acceptance follows no particular ideology, but makes room for them all on his shelf in the living room. He appreciates his days whether they be bad, good, or in-between. He and Patience spend hours afloat in their canoe, going with the flow of the river beneath them, sometimes slowly, sometimes more slowly. They have no past and no future. They’re drawn like magnets to the silent empty spaces left behind when Illusion and his entourage disappear. It’s in one of these spaces where you finally begin to see Acceptance in a more favorable light. When he tries a new approach—sending you a friend request on Facebook—you click “accept.” Soon after, you notice that Acceptance has posted a sunrise on your Wall.

Tenacity

March 28, 2011

    

mixed-media and personification

mixed-media and personification

     Tenacity taps you on the shoulder just as you are about to tack an eviction notice for Hope on one of the four chambers of your heart. “You don’t want to do that,” he says as he unpacks the tools of his trade: rope, life preserver, file box of over-used clichés, some energy bars, and a book of matches from the Try, Try, and Try Again Café. He tells you to take a shower because you smell and everything looks better without disappointment stinging your eyes. As you wash the weariness from your hair, Tenacity makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.
     After a nap, Tenacity sits with you while you wait for that phone call. He sorts the month-high stack of mail from your bedside table into little piles. He pays a few bills and files the rejection letter under R. He burns through pages from a box marked “Heavy” until the swirling brown-edged scraps and ash form sparrows and fly away. He feeds the cat and gives her fresh water. Upon noticing that you’re out of aluminum foil, paper towels, and paperclips, he sighs, and makes a quick trip to the store. He instructs you to keep writing in his absence, even though you think the words are all wrong.
     Upon his return, Tenacity makes you count out the accomplishments that you’ve shoved under the bed. He helps you stick them together with toothpicks until they reach the ceiling. The exercises come next. First up is a five minute set of Body Raises; ten 30-second repetitions of getting out of bed when the alarm rings. This is followed by a series of deep cleansing breaths. Head Lifts ensue; starting with your head on the keyboard, raise it up as much as possible in a minute’s time. Use a gentle motion, do not bang.
     The last exercise is called Stepping Outside. Tenacity reminds you that while you may feel like you’re walking onto a dilapidated wooden drawbridge over shark-infested waters; it’s just a porch. “You’ve done this before, you can do it again,” he says, adding, “The Journey is the Reward.” You kind-of want to slap him, but you find yourself distracted by a ruby-throated hummingbird. It’s hovering beside a yellow cactus flower. The sky is blue, sponged white with cumulus clouds. It’s right there, all around you.

Turn (Tin Can Lid Book #2)

March 6, 2011

 

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Turn Heads
Turn it Over
Turn the Page
Turn the Corner
Turn the Key
Turn the Other Cheek
Turn it Up
Turn into a Butterfly

Understanding

January 1, 2011
mised-media and personification

mixed-media and personification

     Understanding cleans houses for a living. He does not advertise in the yellow pages, however. Nor does he drive a car emblazoned with clever slogans touting his dusting prowess or dexterity with a spray bottle. He finds his clients strictly by word of mouth. Sometimes, he just shows up on his own volition like a bouquet of flowers out of the blue. He carries a bucket of water draped with assorted rags, and a top-of-the-line feather duster. He’ll tip his hat to let you know he means no harm.
     Understanding understands clutter. He knows that it sticks to walls, shelves, and brain cells like white sticks to rice. He insists that you watch while he picks up the objects and images in your life, and polishes them to a crystal clear sheen. When he places them gently back in their places, you hear their stories as if you’re hearing them for the first time. The stories are pieces of you kidnapped by errant dust bunnies, and brought home by Understanding’s humble rags. Odds and ends come together like words painted by airplanes in the sky.
     Understanding doesn’t stand out in a crowd. He’s not one to go out in his Sunday best on Monday. That’s impractical in his line of work. I mean, really…he deals in muck and smudges. If Understanding needs to scrub the grime from hard to reach corners, he often has to move heavy appliances. The scrubbing can take hours, if not years. Understanding gets dirty. There’s no way around it. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Otherwise, the mold and the muck take over, and next thing you know, Dejection has moved in for an indefinite period of time.
     Understanding leaves almost as quickly as he arrived. You may find yourself doubting that he was ever there in the first place. People who don’t know you very well may snort, and suggest that he’s nothing more than a silly dream. In all likelihood, you’ll resign yourself to the idea that he was only a figment of your imagination. It’s only after Understanding visits several more times (to say he’s loyal is an understatement) that you start to take him seriously, and see him more clearly. You’ll throw your arms around his neck in gratitude once you know he’s for real.

Poignance

December 6, 2010

    

mixed-media and personification

mixed-media and personification

     

     Poignance has lost everything but her memory. She spends her mornings on a park bench feeding pigeons breadcrumbs from a paper bag. Then she walks the city streets like a ghost. A shock of hair, a gesture, the curve of a cheekbone, a store window, a doorway, a few words in a passing conversation; each one flips a switch on the film projector she carries around in her head. Poignance smiles cautiously at the strangers who rarely notice her lingering briefly across their shadows.
     In her heyday, Poignance was the proprietor of a small confectionary store. Her specialty was bittersweet chocolate. She masterminded a recipe with just the right combination of sugar, vanilla, liquor, and cocoa butter to bring tears to her customers’ eyes. Not surprisingly, her bittersweet confections were in demand around the globe. Poignance was even called upon to bake the cake served at the nuptials of Beauty and Loss. Sometimes, she pulls out old newspaper clippings of the wedding and reads them over and over, brushing the faded ink with the tips of her fingers.
     For many years, Poignance was involved in an on-again, off-again affair with Time who was never faithful. His bouts of leaving without so much as a forwarding address took their toll. Poignance began to grow faint like a photograph that has been hung for too long on a sunlit wall. Eventually, she retreated entirely into the past. Everyday when she wakes up, the present is further away, and when she calls to herself, she cannot hear even the hint of an echo. Poignance wanders around in what-ifs and could-have-beens in search of quiet interludes she can use to slip into other people’s minds.    
     When Poignance shows up out of the blue, it is usually by surprise and only during one of those rare moments when everything seems to stop and questions hang like the aroma of rose petals in humid air. Her visits last only long enough for the second hand of the kitchen clock to tick once around its circumference. Her image is breathtaking and will knock the wind right out of you. There will be much you want to ask her, but she will vanish before you can find the words. In an effort to forget her, you will find something pressing that needs to be attended to right away.

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