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Artists Inevitably as Writers

With all this time on my hands I've been looking back at old works and reading through my past sketchbooks. I've realized how prevalent writing is for me, how much it not only informs my work but also is a product of it. Writing to paint or painting to write, the two have become intertwined. I think artists inevitably become writers, so long as they jot down the thinking that comes with their process. For me, writing is a tool to help me spill and understand my feelings, get out ideas whether I use them or toss them, and just be creative in a different way. Sometimes, the way words flow across a page can be just as satisfying as a color spread over a canvas.

Be Your Own Nightlight

I wanted to share a poem I wrote a few months ago. I wrote it after I recorded a dream I had, a dream that scared me when I woke up that I haven't forgotten it since.




Ten Upland North


It felt like the end

of an era

where frantic peers

panicked

like always

but ran from something

something real

that we couldn’t see

yet but we almost

heard it

or could imagine

its magnitude

or could see it

in our minds later

on the news

on the tv screen

that will soon be crushed

as if there would be

any electricity left

to see it

anyway, but

anyway

it was dark and familiar

but slowly growing more

unfamiliar,

like the black satin

walls could

somehow grow darker

and more reflective

showing our faces

full of fear more clearly

than we had noticed

before,

but why am I referring

to ‘we’ when

during this I felt

alone

or maybe I

truly was because

everyone was running

past me to the

door

but I had bigger problems

on my hands –

actually –

in my mouth

the shards of teeth

crumbled and grew

a pile only so

large my mouth could

hold for a short period

of time until they

spilled out

so I held my

hands under my

chin to catch them

just in case they fell out

before I made it to the

bathroom because

they have before,

but this bathroom

was so profound

upon walking in that

they stayed in there

for an extra second for me

to notice

and then observe

the tall vanity mirrors

both of them

reflecting nothing

tarnished silver

framing their sharp

corners

extending to the

ceiling, which

had to be up thirty

feet, and there was

surely an echo

or the possibility of

but no memory of sound

and so everything was

cold to touch

but I sweat with a

relentless thumping to

clear my mouth

and the time I took

to say this to myself

then the walls

kept getting darker

but

where was this glow

coming from

that allowed me to make out

my face in the mirror

if all the lights

were off (?) so I

opened my hands

and let the sharp white

pieces fall onto them

but still I had a bigger

problem so

I forgot about the

small teeth

leaving them on the icy

vanity

and reached in again

to find something

else and throughout

all this while in

a non-existent bathroom

in a familiar house I

still had my directionality

that if the walls

blew out I

would turn forty

degrees to the right

and go through the

trees to reach

the street

but here my fingers

were reaching in my mouth

to pull out a

tooth

that looked far too

large to be

mine

hanging onto its root

that made it three times

longer

how these numbers

reach me after

daylight hits my eyes

is the only way I can

describe the feeling,

the root was white

maybe

preserved in my gum

while the top part,

the molar,

was completely black and

charred as if it

had been pulled out

of the remains of a

fire I could nearly

taste the burnt

blackness

of it

the rough surface

grazing against

my once smooth

healthy teeth living within

the saliva of my

mouth

this was dead

past revival

and like the

death of a fire

I felt the burst

of a flame spit

out as a terror

in my heart

before everything else

with the tooth

went black