This photo was taken in my husband’s grandmother’s house many months after she had passed. The house was vacant and there wasn’t much furniture left. In this case, a child’s bed was the only thing left in the room. There was already a story to enter into, it felt lonely. The doily over my body belonged to my grandmother and I was traveling with it at the time. I was on a road trip and I always bring props along that I intuitively feel I might want to use. There was something about the smallness of the bed and the doily on my skin that intrigued me, along with the emptiness of the huge house, and the quiet somber light in the room that only seemed to reach the bed.
Your ornamental body
placed atop a bare surface,
empty with no fragile
collectibles to display.
Hide cigarette burns
and the rings
from the bottoms
of sweaty whiskey tumblers.
Intentionally reveal only small openings
between a complex woven façade.
Showcase your finest crystal vase.
Protect smooth silent space
with distracting bowls of potpourri
candles that never get lit.
Let visitors know
that you were woven
by special grandmother hands,
and the thoughts that weighed heavy on her chest
while she laced your circular pattern.
I found this burnt down homestead on an abandoned farm in Chino, CA. I fell in love with the charred window frame that still remained. Several décor items were also left behind at the property, somehow escaping the fire. I found the silk flower arrangement on the ground and placed it in the window, where I felt it belonged. Suddenly I had an emotional connection to the story that the charred window frame and the silk poinsettia arrangement told together.
Flowers In The Window
What was left behind in the house after it burnt;
the plastic wreath with cherry-red fake berries,
the loose-jointed teddy bear
that lay dusty atop the spare bedroom duvet
for 20 years
where no guests ever slept,
the white silk poinsettias potted in Mom’s old basket,
unware of disaster,
still pretending to bloom.
Now you can see how I was able to believe
that everything in this house was ok.
There used to be a door here,
and 4 walls,
there used to be a window
that glistened when the sunlight hit it,
there used to be a night sky outside
with stars I could wish upon.
the burnt obsidian window pane still frames the Eucalyptus tree,
the white silk poinsettias still remember Christmas,
how there was so much light in the house
for one month every year.
I found this small empty picture frame in an abandoned cottage while driving down through Oregon and making my way to the California Coast. The house was tucked away behind trees and many years of unstoppable ivy. Entering an abandoned home is always scary. It is a slow entry, I find myself tip toeing, not sure who or what I will meet when I enter. This particular home where I found the frame had quite a bit of furniture left over. The empty frame was on top of a desk in a back room. It spoke to me about a kind of emptiness that I felt worth exploring.
The Philosophy of an Empty Picture Frame
It’s how to hold on she said,
how to become the empty somber portal
collecting dust on see through skin.
It’s how you can listen to the sound of time escape a body.
This is where I live in my deepest mystery
watching human beings travel simultaneously
forward and backward.
I bought the Buddha mask while at the local Chinese New Year celebration. I found the new friend (seen in the photo) on Craig’s List. Her post read ‘Photography friend wanted’. In her post, she explained that she was looking for a friend to do photography with and that she had a personal taste for dark subject matters. I was in. I asked her if she would like to go on a photography day trip to some abandoned buildings and she agreed. Without ever meeting I picked her up and we drove to an abandoned military complex. I brought along the Buddha mask. Because of the whimsical nature of the mask, I wanted to find an abandoned playground. That never happened but when we stumbled upon the pile of rubble you see in the photo I really loved the contrast of the wreckage with the happy Buddha. I asked my new friend to laugh with her whole body and I captured what I find to be a good reminder of impermanence.
Buddha In The Rubble
If I fall apart,
I’ll dig through the bones of the wreckage,
find my wish granting remains,
try hard to break off the larger half.
I’ll find Buddha laughing in the rubble,
feel his belly quake
with enlightened reverie
for fate’s dark side.
I’ll be the catastrophic dust,
as it refracts shards of failure
and drifts its way into a oneness with the pink horizon.
I made this doll to go with another poem I wrote and then took it on a road trip with me, photographing it in the various hotels where I stayed. In one hotel I took a polaroid of it and accidentally left the photo developing beneath the guest information book. I often wonder about what the person who found the photo thought the moment they turned it over. In making the doll, my most important consideration was her eyes. I wanted them to indicate a sort of oblivion about what she was seeing.
I’ve replayed the way you kissed me in your closet
the night we met,
a hundred times.
I wanted to crawl to the very back where all the shoes
you no longer wore lay with their dusty lids
and memorize the lifelines on your palms with my abdomen.
Sometimes we just thrive in muddy oblivion
for a time
while we figure out how to open our lotus petals.
I like to make up new endings for how I left;
you ask me to wait an hour more
while your warm breath finds solace in my staying.
I was sitting outside next to the pond at my friend’s ranch when I saw the broken egg near me. I went to my room to photograph it in the windowsill. I always carry the tiny Mother Mary statue with me and I felt called to place them together for the photo.
The impetus to fly,
fleshy with its telling of fate,
or readiness of buoyant skeletal muscles.
steal from the fear of falling,
escaping the pull of gravity’s morning ground.
ancient and fragile
while standing at the edge.
This is where death and the impossible