Sitting at my laptop with a cup of tea and surround by my art things as I work on a new Final, and yes I am feeling like myself again so this shittown of a world can go and fuck itself.
My father has engineer eyes. His world
is broken down into measurements and
HTML code. He is an expert with equations,
with the definite. Uncertainty is a different matter.
He is tall. Feet always planted on the ground.
Lungs loud enough that his snores fill the
whole house at night. They are strong,
have learned to breathe the toxic Shanghai air.
Sometimes disasters are not named for people.
Sometimes an asteroid called “Unemployment”
will crash-land into your upper middle-class
backyard, leaving a crater gaping in the ground.
SURVIVAL KIT FOR A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION:
One, a water filter and anything edible
Two, a complete set of Marie’s paint tubes
Three, thirty canvases.
In the event of an apocalypse; the computers
have stopped working. The bridge has
collapsed. The light bulbs have burned out.
And my father traded his engineer eyes for
painter hands. Calculations become color.
Technology to tints. Hardware to hues.
There is more than one meaning
to the phrase “still life”
In between foraging and interviews,
he curls himself up in a basement bomb shelter.
This is his studio. Newspapers strewn
across the table. Prominent job listings
circled in a halo of red acrylic.
Upon the easel, the canvas is sliced to portions.
How many daubs of blue can fit in that corner?
How wide is the spectrum of one square inch?
Precision. Technique. They build together
red and blue and yellow mixing in unity.
When the earth’s water supply dries up,
he will use his sweat to clean the brushes.
When the lingering traces of radiation,
bury themselves under the soil
refusing to let anything grow,
he will sketch a landscape.
When the zombies climb from the grave,
hungering to turn you brain-dead and
purposeless, he will remind you
of all the places worth painting,
of all the faces worth drawing.
When the roof has collapsed on the house,
he will plaster it up with canvases of red.
Brick by brick. ‘Til it turns whole.
When you let him see what Armageddon
looks like, he will take it headfirst
with painter hands and show you just
how beautiful the dust can be.
you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him traveling away from you in his dreams
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.
MY MOTHER IS MAKING ME MOVE BACK HOME DO I CAVE OR
Let me be an encyclopedia, an archive. Here are more facts: you can eat birch—its leaves are rich in vitamin C and the inner bark ground into flour is a famine food, a last resort. Birch sap can be crystallized into sugar or fermented into wine. Herbalists prescribe spring buds to treat fevers and you can soak the bark and make a cast to set broken bones. Birch tar is used to treat skin ailments; conversely, it’s the base for glue on arrows when you wish to send a swift sharpness through the air. And so birch is—like everything—capable of both healing and harm.