Sketches – 79

I turned out to be a beautiful day

It finally feels like Fall!
About time

Yeah, the Summer, like most of 2020,
Has kinda outstayed its welcome

No lie…
I just got a text. Hmmm.
Did you know there was going to be
A presidential election this year?

Seems like I’d heard
Something about it, yes

Well, this person says
I still have time to
Make a difference in the election

For what candidate?

One I’ve never heard of.

That takes some doing.
You are like a political
Fountain of obscure facts

Now I have to look this person up.

You really don’t.
It’s probably like the Merovingian Party

Close.
It’s called the “Bread and Roses” Party

Two things worth having

If you had to name a political party
Using only two everyday material items,
What would you pick?

So I can’t use words like ‘truth’?

Nope

How about…
Apples and bananas?

{Laughs} Why do I even ask you questions?

What two words would you use?

How about “earth and stars”?
People are in favor of those

I don’t know.
The earth gets walked all over,
And the only star we care about
Lives in the neighborhood

How far have we walked?

So far?
One point eight miles

Let’s go back

You going to research this party?

In the car, maybe.
I know you hate politics, but,
I find it fascinating

To me, government is like salt.
You put it on everything,
You end up unhealthy

I actually sort of agree.
It’s finding the right amounts
To put in things, though

Does anybody ever?

Maybe not.
With politics, you have hear the music
Underneath all the noise.
It can be beautiful

You almost convince me

You know I’m right.

Let me know how the research goes.

I will in… one point seven miles

anyone at all.

a little boy in back of class
is struggling with each word;
his voice is not a strong one, and
it’s rarely ever heard

no gold stars on his papers, for
his efforts seem but small;
he isn’t anyone to watch,
not anyone at all

the day of graduation comes
and no one in the stands,
calls out his name across the stage,
no cousins, aunts, or grands

he’d never been a scholar, he
was no good with a ball;
he was no one of great regard,
nor anyone at all

he’d watch her from some ways away,
but was no kind of stalker;
he left off all that he might say
as he was not a talker

he never was a special guy,
not handsome, and not tall —
he wasn’t anyone she’d love,
not anyone at all

the night is closing in, and he
his taking his last rest;
he’s found that feeling nothing is
the feeling he likes best

just one more shovel in the dirt,
as rain begins to fall —
as no one mourns where no one lies,
not anyone

at all

Sketches – 78

[The following conversation took place a few years ago. – Owen]


So why did you decide to come out here to work?

I don’t know.
Being home was getting to me

You’ve been seeming kind of depressed

I am.
I’m a little lost, professionally

Explain

Being in the arts is… very precarious.
No matter how you slice it, it actually is
A popularity contest.
Do people want to see my work?
To buy it?
Or do they prefer someone else’s?

… and…?

… and, it feels like
I don’t have any friends anymore.

How so?

I text people, but
They don’t text back…
Unless they need something.
I miss having girl friends to do things with.
I’d love a game night, a trivia night,
You know, someplace where I can just let go.

I don’t know, I just
Feel wrong.
Unimportant.
Like what I do doesn’t matter,
Like I don’t matter, and
Like.. garbage, really

Does sitting outside help?

Yes.
It’s peaceful out here

Good

So…
What do you think about what I just said?

That, that’s got to be really hard,
Feeling all of that.
Depression is really… hard

Yes.
Do you have any suggestions?

Your work is amazing, and it (and you) will find your audience.
Friends are hard. I don’t have a great answer there other than to say
Not to give up trying. If I wasn’t your husband, I’d want to be your friend,
Because you’re pretty cool

Thank you.
Why don’t you and I do something this weekend?

Like what?

Why don’t we go up to Bugg’s Mill Farm tomorrow?

I don’t think so. I’m not really a farmer

It’s not farming. It’s horseback riding

I don’t know… oh, okay.
I’ll go.
But I hear it’s supposed to rain.

Thank you.
Please don’t think when I’m depressed it’s because
I don’t appreciate you

That thought has crossed my mind.
But — I hear — everything is not about me

Hard to fathom isn’t it?

Sketches – 77

That’s an old photo.
We were up at Buggs Mill Farm, right?

Yes, we were.
That was such a fun day

And you didn’t originally
Want go.
Remember?

I do remember that.
I learned something about myself that day

Which was?

Going places with you
Is always a good idea, because
You are going to be there

Oh… that’s so sweet!
But never mind that right now.
Tell me what you remember about that day

We were worried about rain.
And I had never been horseback riding.
But it didn’t rain. And I rode two different horses,
While you rode all… five?

Six

We ate at the cafe there, and
The food was amazing.
And we met that couple visiting from Malawi.
They were really interesting.

And their names were…?

Tamanda and… Enock?

Wow.
Score one for the man who claims
He can’t remember names.

They were a such a cool couple.
I wonder where they are these days?

They live in D.C. – she and I are Instagram friends.
They recently had a baby

Oh wow! Why haven’t I heard this?

Because, usually, when I come in here,
You are working, not looking at an old photo of me.
So we don’t talk.
And if I don’t tell you things when I remember them,
I might not ever.

We should go back up to the farm.
It just reopened.

When?

Saturday?

It’s a date.
But… I don’t look like this photo anymore

You are beautiful as ever, my love.
And even if what you say is true,
The horses won’t mind.
And you do love horses

Yeah I really do.
They have one of my paintings there, remember?

I do.
Even though I wanted that painting.

The we should go visit periodically.
We have visitation rights

This is really a good photo of you.
But honestly, I’ve never seen a bad one

Well, you’re biased.
Still I’m glad it’s still my photo you look at

As opposed to?…

I don’t know.
Pictures of Batgirl.

We’re back on that, are we?

Barbara Gordon had the sexy librarian thing going.
We all know how guys are about that

And girls love horses.
Nothing wrong with any of it

I guess you’re right

Sketches – 76

Hey there

Hello

So…
Whatcha doin?

Just sitting here…
Thinking

About?

People

Ugh.
I wouldn’t be sitting here smiling
If I was doing that

I don’t know.
People are fascinating.
We feel so strongly about things

Yes.
I often think
The intensity of our emotion about any subject
Is in inverse proportion to how much
We really know about it

Yeah, but better to care and try to do some good,
Than to be more analytical and end up useless

Ouch.
But I can’t argue with you. You’re right

What’s the first thing you remember
Being really emotional about but
That you couldn’t explain to others?

Batgirl.
I loved that character.
Not like “adolescent fantasy” love, but
“I wish I knew her in real life” love

How old were you?

Thirteen

Ah. So that’s it.
I always wondered about you and my
Red hair

Yeah well.
You do have a kind of Batgirl vibe.
What about you?
What was the first thing you remember
Being really emotional about but
That you couldn’t explain to others?

Grace Hartigan.
I absolutely loved her paintings.
These were the early days of the Internet, so
I only saw her work in books and on
A once-a-year trip to New York

I’ve never heard of her, honestly.
What is her work like?

Abstract, but the colors and composition
Are unmistakeable.
No one else painted like her.

Why was that hard to explain?

No one I knew was that into painting.
A few of my friends took photos, like
I still do.

Ah, so that’s it.
I always wondered why you were attracted to me.
It’s because you like abstract expressionism

Don’t make me go all Batgirl on you

Sketches – 75

Hmmm… let me think…
Yep, there it is.
These calculations prove it

Prove what?

You work too hard.
It’s all right here in writing

I work too hard?
I’ve never worked twenty hours a day
For 18 days straight on
One mural

No, you just work thirteen hours a day
358 days per year.
You can’t escape, it’s right here
In my calculations

What have you written down?
… “Drinks twenty Red Bulls per week…
Eats four bags of potato chips…
Donuts…”
You’ve been keeping track?

All kidding aside,
I worry about you.
I really do

And I worry about you

Me? Why?

Because… while, this year
Has turned everyone’s world upside down,
You have seen virtually everything you love
Go away.
You haven’t seen your niece or nephew…
The gallery has been closed…
The university job fell through…
And, worst of all…

Yes?

You’ve been stuck here with me.
Every day.

True.
Just you, me, and
A whole bunch of
Red Bull, potato chips, and donuts.

It is weird how much of our lives and energy
Go into our jobs. At least
You are an artist, all your work is, you know…
Yours

You are, too, after a fashion.
As much as the corporate world will allow

It is catching up with me, though.
I can feel it.

And I understand.
I just want you to take
Better care of yourself

Sigh.
Donuts are like my friends.
I hate losing friends

I’ll find ways to make you feel better

I never really liked donuts anyway

Sketches – 74

Do you have any idea how much I love you?

And I love you
But I’m still taking this picture

It was worth a shot
I thought I might divert you

Why do you hate getting your picture taken so much?
You are very handsome in an… actuarial sort of way

Exactly

Why do you interpret that as bad?
I obviously think you’re handsome
Since we.. you know…

Since we… I know… what?

Since we’re… intimate.

Oh, sure, drag that up.
Just because we’re married and sleep together
You think you can just barge in here and
Tell me I’m handsome

“Barge in here”? We are outside!

That’s W-A-A-A-Y-Y beside the point

Perfect.
I got you with your mouth wide open saying, “WAY”

Do you any idea how irritating you are?

That’s why you love me

It actually sort of is

Two Summer Memories

It was a magic time inside
The covers of a secret book;
How far the mind went none can say,
Or just how long the summer took

To carry him so far away.
A different world, another mind
To go so far into that he
Left all he used to know

Behind



what are these shapes now?
i show them to this small child
who sees the spell i’ve lost

An Autumn Memory

Love (or at least we thought it was love)
Brought both of us to this lake’s edge;
Time, and we knew it was time, broke down,
The same way we would break the pledge

We made upon a magic day.
So many years ago, adrift:
Two souls and bodies turned to gold
Who felt the change, but couldn’t understand

The shift