with you i have learned love is utopia & dystopia at the same time. so love is Earth & we are highly skilled to kill it. like damn, what did you think? all the god in the gold chains round our necks could make us beautiful, & holy & not human? we are just bodies, drums of water & chemicals & constructions, paper -skinned. little marbles of World rubbing against each other, how acid leaks from a cloud’s cheek more than rain. all this, to say: we are ending.
Painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, “Two Calla Lilies on Pink”, 1928
“This series focuses on telling queer narratives in a similar sense to mythological legends. I use ancient imagery, patterns, and landscape to present visual representations of a memory or dream which may or may not have been experienced. Conceptually I explore intimacy as a way to celebrate tenderness and emotive actions.”
we start small, with walks around the perimeter and we get a feel for the art of stewardship magic, flora in our steading breathing in gales of ozone storm breath and salt sea breath, whispering out cool velvet oxygen we raise a cairn together, next to fairy forts at the cliff, whose chalky body gleams in the dying dusklight, waiting for the dawn when the coracle comes and we’ll find at the beach ambergris, hopefully, before we sail. and come come back back westward home for the stark night travels done, dandelions picked and placed between paper leaves, sort of a live grimoire set in the shelf and half burnt logs poked in the cobblestone fireplace, coaxing the fire we breathe in a spurt of choking ash breath heaving up the chimney and we start to talk again over muddy tea, the fight forgotten and when we pad over to bed hopefully darling our hot wet faces will be dry.
the town is quiet when you first meet. houses don’t all look alike but each one contains something tangled inside: a necklace or perhaps some yarn. the townsfolk are both wary and warm. they aren’t cat or dog people, but will tolerate the occasional retriever.
waking children is difficult, they complain with mussed hair and sleep-pulled eyes, but the adults enjoy their morning-time and mixed-fruit juice. neighbours skirt each other on their way to work, pretending last night was full of sleep instead of secrets. eyes glittering.
there is a high petty-crime rate here, courtesy of the charming thieves. they will talk the average man out of his own watch.
all the buildings are on wheels. some nights the strong men push each building to a new place. chatting, thigh-muscles straining. townspeople wake up on new streets, wave to new neighbours, then continue on with their days. new maps reflect the change and old maps lay forgotten in a damp cardboard box.
this place is full of stories. short ones graffitied. long ones carefully documented and bound. the town storytellers have permanent lights in their eyes, and can develop night vision as they grow older. prime tales are told on bonfire night, or at the pub, and each child dreams of being one of the tellers.
the music teacher carries a trundle of instruments on his back. he knows how to play every one, and his voice is like water. it carries over the pavements and makes people pause. sometimes his songs are lonely.
there is a place where people in business suits go to work. they debate around the water cooler and the bosses find them hard to control. sometimes they disappear into cities and return with briefcases full of cash. at night they sneak out to play poker.
there are temples on the outskirts of town that are treated politely. sometimes god shows up.
it is always summer here. unless two people fall in love. then the sky gets heavy with snow and the children rush out to feel flakes against their eyelashes and cheeks. old couples are bundled in wheelchairs. they hold hands through mittens and feel the delicious frost again.
hot chocolate is free when it snows. the aged never live alone or go without good meals and hot water.
sometimes the sky holds its breath with thunder-filled wait. the people close their shutters and the few dogs whine. this town can be a drum-roll.
it also gentles in sleep. legs entangle under blankets and arms tighten around torsos. midnight is the softest hour.
Walking on beige lake-wall focused on each pattern, each grain of each rock at Belmont Harbor. My body wanted to scream out of its skin how deeply I fell in love with their lives, endlessly content with being beaten by Lake Michigan. I counted each wave, each blow as they slammed against the boulders screaming Remember Me! before returning into themselves.
On the white smooth gravel heading home, I had a moment in my head about how crazy it might seem to Strangers if I told them the lake-wall’s rocks had introduced themselves to me and given me their names. A man walked his bike on those same rocks, an affair I didn’t mind. “I was just seeing if I had the courage to ride my bike up here,” he said to me. He must’ve seen me smile, and with that thought, I bloomed; “Oh, please do.” How silly we were to feel ashamed of our love for boulders.