“People are uncomfortable with sexuality that’s not for male consumption.” – Erykah Badu
After school on ordinary days we listened
to The Shadow and The Lone Ranger
as we gathered around the tabletop radio
that was always kept on the china cabinet
built into the wall in that tenement kitchen,
a china cabinet that held no china, except
thick and white and utilitarian,
cups and saucers, poor people’s cups
from the 5 & 10 cents store.
My mother was always home
from Ferraro’s Coat factory
by the time we walked in the door
after school on ordinary days,
and she’d give us milk with Bosco in it
and cookies she’d made that weekend.
The three of us would crowd around the radio,
listening to the voices that brought a wider world
into our Paterson apartment. Later
we’d have supper at the kitchen table,
the house loud with our arguments
and laughter. After supper on ordinary
days, our homework finished, we’d play
monopoly or gin rummy, the kitchen
warmed by the huge coal stove, the wind
outside rattling the loose old windows,
we inside, tucked in, warm and together,
on ordinary days that we didn’t know
until we looked back across a distance
of forty years would glow and shimmer
in memory’s flickering light.
Did you miss this exquisite poem by Andrew Hudgins? If so, make sure and take a look!
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photograph by Richard Avedon
“I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.” – Malcolm X
photograph by Walker Evans
Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” Chances are your are.
The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident.
The real one is scared to death.
By Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
My grandmother’s death was exactly how she would have wanted it to happen. She didn’t decline over a long period. It was just a couple days. A few minutes before her death we were all surrounding her, holding her hand, touching her arm, brushing her hair out of her face and all of a sudden her eyes opened wide. She seemed to be looking right through all of us. She was seeing something and whatever it was, it was magnificent. Twice this occurred. At the very end she raised her arms as if she was reaching for something beyond our knowing.
Of the many wonderful memories of Cheers, that’s what we called her, Cheers, my best were the ones I spent at her house as a child. Often she would take me down the stairs to her basement that served as her studio. It was always scattered with pages ripped out of magazines, tubes of paint, a multitude of brushes and supplies, and canvases of all shapes and sizes, some displaying finished paintings and some with doodles and ideas. As soon as I stepped over the threshold entering this space I was hit with the smell of acrylic paint. It was home.
She never told me not to touch things like grownups frequently do to small handsie children. I was free to admire, caress and use anything in that sacred space. She ignited my love for art.
Cheers was a strong woman. A real fighter. Meaning she was real, her own self, not a copycat. It makes sense because art is the most challenging lover. Art cannot be created without vulnerability and vulnerability creates real human beings. It is this process of imperfection that creates vividness and life. That is what I learned from her. I don’t want to be perfect, I want to be real.
Cheers was a true artist, with her painting and the life she lead.
I think a life is well lived when it doesn’t stop. Her spirit carries on in many of us, it’s too beautiful and precious not to. And in that way, she lives. There is simply no need too say goodbye.