photo of a lame sad person and a painting done in bitumen on canvas.
After I finished my fine arts degree I got a job in a TOY SHOP. I thought this was FUCKING FUNNY AS HELL. But it turned out that I was “stock manager.” I can’t manage my HAIR. I was desperate and desperately poor. I was 28 (9?) and because I had drunk everything I could possibly obtain and been legally insane when sober, I had not been able to keep a job for more than 7 weeks up until that point. So I had no references at all. So I needed one. They paid less than minimum wage by two bucks. I ended up doing all teir promotional design for which they didn’t pay me. I held on for five months. The despair slipped between my ribs and into my heart… I was FUCKING AWFUL as a stock manager. When the bastard who was running the place refused to pay me for work when I was actually THERE, I was able to talk in stuttering slow depression sibilance. And tell him that I was quitting.
I gave two weeks’ notice and they were slow, SLOW weeks. At the same time I went back on anti-depressants, horrified that I was sober now after a year and a half and that i was falling back into hell again.
I put a few pieces at the local library. Someone who owned a gallery went there. They asked me to show the work and I sold it for 1250 dollars. Which was four weeks pay.
I thought “Hm…” and bipolar – catalysed by the anti-depressants – sent me into the longest wildest ecstasy of mania I have ever known. THIS. Is how I started my career.
The photo with me in it is from when I set up my paintings in the library. If you look hard enough I think you can see the hole where my heart should have been… oh and the SUBJECT, Sharon, I had fallen in love with and been with… she was with my best friend – loosely termed- and they are still living together. I think they were sleeping togeterh before we broke up but I don’t know. I don’t blame her. She really did fall in love with him, too.
and this is a poem i wrote whilst being tortuerd by the necessity to do contemporary work:
That wounded faculty and palsied arm. Give in to it if you can remember how, if you can remember anything. If it’s there for you.
I’m sick, baby, frail and unferocious. With a blondewood pencil still not as pale as my rationale. It’s proving my felicity that I’m worried about.
This is the industrial malaise that I always suspected was in existence and tried to get in scrabble, what I’ve been preparing for all these years. While a girl weeps in the corner, and weeps and weeps the whole train ride, she just keeps going.
The only way, I need to pick and turn what seeps from my hands. If I could just happen only just happen to change something that got broken or was skewed as it grew. And I could walk into a room without smelling every insistence like a group of office secretaries. Spitting every word, snarl not strong enough.
Fragile, her heartbeat under my palm in a small square of reflected sunlight. She used to take my chin in her hand and kiss me. Just like that. A white lie, a casual promise, a startling off hand benediction.
Hey I know there’s more to this.
And now I can feel it, think maybe I took too much a hand grasping and grasping in the dark. I feel so weak, I think I always was, spinifex in the Black Forest, kerosene on a summer night, warm but inappropriate – round hole, metacarpal peg.
A huge industrial machine crouched in a humming room; scent of motor oil and burning hair pressing at the walls, like a slow burrowing bullet. Soaked earth with roots twisted through it and a scattering of calluses. In the corner an arrangement of human fingernails mapping an unimportant constellation.
This isn’t a fever or a dream the photographs are pinned to the sticky walls, their edges are curled. There’s a pair of old shoes by the door and the sign IS faded.
There is a baby with a scratched bruise on its forehead and there IS an elderly woman with a floral print dress reading a book with her expression compressed, like it’s an obituary.
I have to wait. Just a few weeks, a few million seconds, if that’s enough.
It’s moving slow but heavy (radius and inertia and depth) like an oil tanker or a tectonic plate. Hurts too much. I’m too tired.
I lost the keys. I thought I had them for a while but they turned out to be the wrong ones. I was wrong again.
I have no will. Come on, give me the crook of your arm to cry on.
I’ll tell you about the menagerie of moons and press your hand between my hands and wishwishwish.