Flood

The valley behind my house flooded from

three days of ceaseless rain.

A pond of thick mud-water,

out of place in the residential landscape.

The smell of wet dog hair lingers in my nose and

a slimy layer of oil coats my forehead.

I wonder if I waded out for an earth bath

if the liquid would weigh heavy around my shoulders,

slowly soaking my neck, eyes, and lungs,

covering my bare body in icy mud, sinking in the depths of the flood.

Eyes of curiosity are fixed on the expanding pool,

quenched by heavy drops spilling from iridescent grey above.

 

How deep does the water flow?

Deeper than the wrinkles in my hands,

than the dirt under my fingernails?

May I soak my calloused skin?

Soothe my scars and heal my burns,

a rejuvenative juice,

nature’s cure for the abuse of time.

 

Unlike the flowing rivers of my youth, smooth and

fed with spring clarity,

bouncing over rocks of play,

(ah, the blissful spontaneity),

this pool of now is dense with silt,

exhausted and heavy, heavy.

 

Branches above droop with saturation, lazy droplets slide to join the opaque lake that

captivates my full attention.

But I stay in the comfort of shelter, and

refrain from shedding my cotton skin to

soak in the dark bath of my visions.

From afar I obsess over this temporary pool, and

dream for the duration of its existence

about the weight of its waters,

imagining my body, afloat on density, submerged in murky depths,

immersing my ears to silently listen to the echo of earth.

Hands

I’ve always thought I’ve had too many wrinkles in my hands for my age. Deep lines cut through the meat of my palm, telling a mysterious narrative about my past and future; I can see my father’s wide, short palm and my mother’s narrow, long fingers. I’ve abused them in the past few years: letting oil paint soak into my skin, accidentally sanding off my nails, carelessly slicing through my fingertips, burning my knuckles on hot glass tools. As I learn the languages of materials through the sensation of touch, I feel my hands becoming tough like leather in order to bear this physical knowledge. The layers of skin hold memory in thick calluses, pale scars, strengthened muscles, and aching tendons. It’s a strange progression from soft, round, and clean to rough, chiseled, and dirty; hands must adapt to the labor of touch in order to endure the abuse. The craftsman is able to react to physical sensations with ease from a hypersensitivity to pressure, heat, weight, and form. The result is a confident and wise elegance.

What if you could touch everything in your life? From the sheep to sweater, seed to vegetable, and tree to home. A deep connection to the objects around you, for they would not be in the world if it weren’t for your two hands. Everything in your life would have an imprint of you inside of it, a pure and unique individuality. This fingerprint can be shared with others who in turn give something of their own creation to you. This is one of the oldest concepts of civilization; to dream of this today is completely idealist. However in today’s virtual, sterile, and untouching world there is a lesson to be learned from this primitive utopia. Touch is the most primal of the senses; without it we become completely disconnected from our bodies. A mindfulness of the sense of touch leads to an understanding of the origin of objects, and an awareness of the material things that surround you. I promote and encourage the act of touch in not only my art practice but my daily routine in order to come one step closer to truly feeling everything in my life.

 

Practicing the act of touching in the glass studio

Language Spreads Like a Patch of Oil

Describing my sensations (daily):

Dry water to loosin’ joints and invigorate lips,

hands tremble, vibrations echo in the blood of the beholder.

Shaking in breath, bones, tremors of stimulation,

the flux between zen and anxiety (it’s perpetual).

 

Hands,

lingering scent of garlic on fingertips,

prints engraved with oil

metal shavings,

scummy scalp,

and greasy hair rests of forehead like sweet exhaustion.

Gas fills the air as sparks fly,

unsafe while touching, moving,

turning and spinning and twisting

bending, burning,

and finally,

sleep.

 

Dreams swirl like honey, thick relaxation,

but sometimes they poke, aggravate

deep rooted neurosis,

manifested in repetitious motions

of the day,

over and over

a sharp pain in the spine

over and over.

Is this everything, eternity?

 

Awaking to sweet beans, an energizing elixir

to tighten up and speed through.

 

Electrified heat,

melting into spontaneous forms,

unnatural bliss,

connection is necessary for production,

producing moments of pure intuition

understanding: I can control lightning.

It vibrates with caffeinated blood,

the power in dirt-fingers (I can see my ancestors through my fingertips).

Dancing in rhythm with steel and gas and heat

the mysterious inner workings of machines.

In the air the taste of rust,

feeling micro particles graze skin, abrasive

but craving the itch of heat, the pain of the push,

the satisfaction of seeing.

 

I wonder about the things I do not know,

they tumble around inside the skull,

gather and form into a landscape of

fantastic visions.

 

Aware of the air movements of ghosts

melt in a silent tension,

stretch in relaxed, smoky air.

Bugs

I cannot remember the bugs I killed without feeling the pain I caused them.

Burning innocent insects with the end of my cigarette, chopping them in quarters with my pocket knife.

Ant, beetle, spider

running in panicked patterns through backyard forests littered with juvenile beer cans.

I did not hate the bugs;

in fact, I loved them.

They did not have the burden of knowing, the burden of the fucked-up labyrinth inside the skull,

pure and perfect with complex evolutionary skills

able to perceive tiny beauties of the world;

antennas and microscopic ganglia

Envious of their simplicity,

I would repress tears as I crushed their exoskeleton with the bottom of my boot,

taking a long drag of the cigarette hanging from my mouth,

suspending the smoke in my lungs, closing my eyes and exhaling a cloud of pain, comforted in the toxicity.

Sometimes I could see my father in the reflection of their tiny bug-eyes,

I would watch his image transform into myself, skin marred with perfect round and straight scars,

the abuse of alienation

attempts to escape humanity (I felt its evils).

I want to live with the bugs!

to crawl along the dead carcasses of trees,

to carry food with my strong mandibles for my friends,

humble in my servitude, intrinsic to the ecosystem.

I would perish, unnoticed,

a pale, thin kid, in all black, jaw tight,

burdened by knowing,

squishes me with the tip of his finger.

A Glaze Over the Eyes

Far away from the Marlboro scent of childhood,

feeling comforted, disoriented

by fleeting glimpses of rural Pennsylvania:

nausea caused by reading,

thirty three grams of carbs.

 

Stretching across sticky leather seats,

 

feeling the movement of memories:

first tastes of mom’s cheap wine, dad’s piss-beer,

dipping finger tips in burning vanilla candles,

headphone dreams while staring out windows.

 

Spiraling like a whirlpool,

 

gazing through the layer of dead bugs on the window;

a rapid breeze, a slap on the cheek

(mom’s smoking a cigarette).

 

Aggressive wind sucks the cheap smoke from

 

stale car interior.

Dilapidated billboards for ‘King of Beers’ passes by

in a grassy sea of

deja vu.

Pressure building behind ears releases from waxy caverns;

a relief and a headache.

 

At Subway a short elderly man with a ball cap and

 

light

blue jeans conversed about

where he came from and where he was going:

he too noticed the rainbow through the clouds.

Biting into tuna sandwich

tasting

diesel fuel and

rubber gloves.

Disgustedly hungry, finishing the meal in seven swift bites.

 

The rolling hills reminiscent of

 

dreams

on a perpetual roller coaster

(a beloved adolescent machine)

velocities and altitudes constantly changing,

inescapable fear of the

heart exploding

from the not-so-amusing ride of unconscious anxiety.

Crying under the sheets of mom’s bed;

the smell of her

sweat

and flashing light of the TV.

A road trip through

dry, November cornfields,

swaying with yesterday.

Spine Negligence

The burden of gravity:

A constant pressure, always down

on the crooked spine,

how dense the body’s

membrane, tissue, marrow

feel under the skin.

Heavy, heavy body

exhausted by laws of physics.

Shoulders slant, weary

neck strains, leaning right

off balance, the hips tighten

brain pushes on skull,

aching tendons scream,

knees crumble, creek

tongue rub roof of mouth,

arches of feet worn flat,

dry leather skin of hands,

broken toes, never healed,

vibrating, nauseous,

pulled down, a magnet in the gut,

a magnet in the ground,

a weight tied to the rib cage,

hunched, fetal,

negligent of the muscles and blood movement.

Disintegrate the spirit of gravity,

fly, align, connect

free the body from the pull of the earth,

and the oppressive laws of physics.

Words for Skin

 

Itchy bumps grow. My irritated pores beg for me to scratch, leaving streaks from chewed sharp fingernails. Irrational thought urges me, ‘Please don’t stop!” The relief is addicting and of deepest satisfaction. But it is cheap and temporary satisfaction, a rough caress of dirty fingers and wrinkled hands, over and over the same area of skin, begging for something more, like a child before it can speak crying tears of desperation. How did I erupt in such burning discomfort? Eczema, allergies, bug bites, hives or my own delusion? As I examine my body further I wonder: am imagining the sensation crawling over my legs, up my arms and to neck? Is my constant abrading only spreading and intensifying the burn? And is my stress and deep worry only perpetuating the pain? Please, I cry like the child, Alleviate my self-induced suffering! Soak me in cool wet kisses. Exfoliate and moisturize my abused, damaged skin in a bath of fresh, smooth, thick comfort. Gently heal my body back from its red, bumpy anger to its light pink, brown, yellow glowing glory so I can one day learn to not lose sleep picking and prodding over something that is not there.

Clarity (How Fleeting)

I observe with

the fringes of the peripheral illuminated.

 

Studying in depth:

the curve of each blade of grass

(overgrown and wild),

 

the movement of each branch

(orchestrated with the rest in an intuitive dance),

 

the unique and unifying texture of each brick in the building

(raw evidence of the hands that laid them),

 

the organized pattern of the ants on the sidewalk

(one by one carrying and marching),

 

Oh, the unifying breath of the world!

(I want to breathe with you).

 

Complex combinations of sounds, mysterious and layered infinitely:

midday highway with flowing fountain

echoed by hushed voices and

my own gentle noises

(a humbling reminder of the systems of the body).

 

Understanding the macro and micro,

their homogeneous existence

(my momentary enlightenment mirroring the power of the sun).

The halcyon view agitated with energy

vibrates my retina

and leaves me inspired, in awe.

 

For only a momentary glance I experience this beauty

(it happens all the time).

The world becomes more flat, hazy, desaturated with every blink

but I can feel the truth lingering in my bones.

Virtual Reflection

Mirrors and windows desiring no light

bouncing the beams onto

hairless beings of

self-loathing and self-love.

 

Simultaneously destroying and constructing.

 

Energized by the surreal phenomenon

of looking at oneself:

disembodied, disconnected, discorporated.