Small Acts of Kindness.
Water colours, 60 × 37 cms.
This piece is from the same time as Exigency, and I talk about what was happening to me at the time there.
It is of my girlfriend of that time, Marina. She was my very first girlfriend, when I was a desperately mad teenager, and we loved each other with that strange pure innocence of the very young and new to love.
I was in the midst of what proved to be the worst crash of my life (I mean depression, see the bipolar and Paul page.) OK wrote this a few years ago and it wasn’t the worst crash. Sigh. Sigh sigh.
Marina was having troubles of her own, having broken up with her partner and looking after her young son (aged less than a year) by herself, with no family support. She won some massive award at univsersity in 2006 for consistently being in the top two percent of all the campuses (ECU uni, there are lots of them.) I feel pretty good about it. I made her go. Nagging is a poweful tool. Like a shovel. That’s a powerful tool. When I was five I proved this by hitting someone over the head with one. Ah, the freedom of mad youth.
I think that the despair comes through very clearly in the works from this time. There is a hesitation to my marks making that is not present in my works from other periods. Of course, being down, I didn’t take care of things well either, ,and now this piece has charcoal all over it. Sigh. Ah, well.
This is the shot without it being cropped or the levels being messed with or anything like that. It got red wine spilled on itm, which is odd since I don’t drink at all (as mentioned elsewhere, I am an alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink for 8 years and so on dark and great and fucking horrible as the day I stopped was blah blah and certainly blah.)
The red wine soaked into the left corner where the shadow is. The red was almost exactly the same colour as the shadow. Oh the symbolism! Oh break me into pieces and make each one of them a red skittle! Symbolism, natural irony, the glory of how life reflects art onto art!
The piece looks the same, it was not destroyed. It was not damaged. It remains.
Oh, fuck yeah, watch hands on an ancient clock, slow but still moving. Clicking in the dark when there’s no one home. choing in a hall with light spilling in through the frosted glass.
Like when the game is over and it’s time to hold and time to kill, the very very last drop of milk splashes onto the page and the very very dark blue moves in the corner. Walking with me to the end of the isle pewter cups full of thick liquid that catches in the back of your throat and makes you sputter like a fire or a kerosene heater or a lamp or an old sick car with students in it too dumb
not to try.
No time to write or think or curl my fingers around, a dove’s leg curse or a jewel. Pierced, oh sure, like that a pinprick in an open sky, a babbling tower. Water from the sky from the ocean from the heart, clipped, triggered and muzzled, strapped to the enormity of it.
Colour-blind and balanced, capsized and immersed, a bridge that’s a seething landscape.
Titan for a Tuesday, dry as a bone wrist or a Doll’s house in the desert.
It smells like strength and vicissitude with only what you want and a cold turned spoke.
Staggering and with a head full full of light, only small acts of kindness,
what else is there to find for us silent at the edge of the day?
So then it’s only you and me in a saturated blue, long kisses hard into each other
sweat and confirmation, an engine of conviction, a weapon of devolution.
A slow turning and immense mill with a lidless sacrifice and an angry wasp, pulled from one strung heart sharp over ribs.
There’s only breath and life
and no promises from either, go guarantor for me that I’ll be alone,
prove me right with skin that colour, hand that soft, a zealot with a placard walking in the rain.
Drama and faith are such poor excuses.
Only hints and grace, something gone, out into the soft and never ending night with a half-heard cry.
I’m sad for you, baby.
I know. I know.
I saw the tremors and the shadows in the kitchen.
Like leaves and seeds bent around a chain link fence on a quiet day.
It’s only me, just me, that’s all.
I can come and visit and hold your head up for you while you try and sing, like before with both hands that you pushed to my throat.
Wait for me, oh wait for me.
I know my arms are empty and ugly and I have hard edges and sway and rock and twitch twitch twitch and I’m sorry for all these things and for the old woman made up for no-one and for the beautiful girl so autistic she couldn’t see and for the tiny mad child that I was
and for the tiny mad child that you were, dirty hands and sweet,
Twelve o’clock on a Friday night,
Run my hand down the side of my face. Crack each finger individually.
Give up, give in.
Whisper and kiss the side of my mouth.
Someplace or something warm.