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little anchors – examining the objects i paint

Lotsa squares. Burrows. Flattened crawlspaces.

All these symbols, made of plastic, are populating my studio, photographs and paintings.

I’m putting parts of myself in them. They are reliquaries, produced en masse by Hasbro or Mattel, containing sacred bits of little girl Libby.

I’ve given these pieces to those I love. I’ve left them on doorsteps and beneath pillows. I’ve been like a cat that brings dead birds to her masters.

They are little anchors to drop in another’s life. Sometimes their chains get yanked back.

I’ve left paintings in trees with the hope they’d be found. I’ve left messages with chalk on rocks to be washed away. I’ve made others participate in my scavenger hunt.

When I played with Barbies, I preferred building and designing the doll’s house. I wanted to build the spaces they’d exist in. Maybe I’ve always treated life like a diorama.

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lost toys

Sometimes I dream of toys I lost as a child. And I know it’s just age and allergies, but I imagine the heaviness beneath my eyes is from storm clouds ready to burst.

Every feeling comes with a diagnosis and guilt at it’s audacity. Some of us are just raw and learn to like the sting.

I find myself saying I’m sorry for not containing enough light. Winter is on it’s way, and with it, less sun. That always frightens me. I don’t have enough light for myself to bask in and for sure, not enough to share.

I can feel sad over a painting I haven’t painted yet. It’s like mourning over someone you’re afraid you won’t get to meet. When composing a still life, I hate to use purchased objects. I want to find or be given them. Picked flowers or a gifted bouquet, for the meaning. I want them to have stories and to have lived a life before finding their way to me.

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the you in my nightstand

It’s face was the used pages of a diary,
all bleeding ink and bent corners.

Voice like a scratched record,
no one to listen to it.

A dried ink pen for a spine,
chewed up brittle plastic.

With a brass locket for a heart,
hung on tangled chain and empty of sentiment.

It peered at me with mica-flake eyes,
squinting into fluorescent light.

I paid it with a copper penny to suckle,
closed the drawer to no complaint.

My memory smelled like cedar and lint,
felt like a knuckle in the eye.