This site was developed to encourage me to write and photograph each day, experience each day creatively, thoughtfully.

10th February 2013

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Feb 10th

Tell me how

It feels to be dead

For 20 years now

 .

Are we

So far apart?

I have told every memory

I have of you and now they are only words

 .

Is there nothing left?

 .

Why are only somber thoughts here with me tonight

That I am not out, that I am not among the living

That I might stare into the wall and not see it.

 .

Why is there so little to say

Is it that easy to forget and let darkness be darkness and silence be silence?

Why is this so uninteresting to me

That I might make a life like yours into a poem and not even make it good?

 .

I don’t think there is any grace

In goodbye

There is no miracle in the sand between your toes

Maybe there is nothing sadder than the tone of my voice

Because it is so unlike yours

You would have been calm and gentle and comforting

And made even death seem like the back porch

And that is the grace that is not in the goodbye

And that is why you knew you were dying

And still didn’t say goodbye

6th February 2013

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Started on a new piece today which I am very excited about. Got Jeff, our new professor to stand beside this almost finished piece I was working on this past week. It needs to be installed in a public space and needs to have the empty spaces filled with an ephemeral material but I am excited about the prospects for this new exploration. 

Started on a new piece today which I am very excited about. Got Jeff, our new professor to stand beside this almost finished piece I was working on this past week. It needs to be installed in a public space and needs to have the empty spaces filled with an ephemeral material but I am excited about the prospects for this new exploration. 

6th February 2013

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Feb 6th: Tybee

We were asked to write a bio in the voice of Vasari. I wrote Chapter One: Tybee. 

A place deposits parts of itself within the mind that linger on after houses are demolished, blackberry bushes are uprooted and long after a man has traveled west and yearns to return home. How best can one count what a land has made of a man? The architecture and landscaping are not within themselves important, though they are often recreated within the mind. What last longest are impressions, idealizations, content that is untrue after being retold to oneself but this is where the artist is born. Maybe what is untrue is created into truth or maybe the most insecure moments are sewn into the security of forms that hold within them a representation that is at once visible, shareable, destroyable or real. To know anything of man, to know anything of the artist one must linger longest in the stories he tells and doesn’t tell often.

Consider Tybee Island in the 1980’s as the scene for this first story. Anthony Faris was not born here, the long history of his ancestors does not take root here, this place was chosen by his grandparents and no one remains here, no deed, nothing passed down but that’s the vocabulary of the contemporary family, choice and abandonment. When a person remembers nothing more of their family history than what is around them, as if it appeared and was always as such, then a place can take on the significance mirroring the narrative of knowing a land with sweat and work and death in ten years as if it were a hundred. Anthony was raised by his mother alone, his mother and his grandparents alone two blocks by foot from the ocean. His grandmother walked fast and her house was not far from the duplex in which he grew.

To speak of Tybee in the 1980’s a narrator must say that there was a grocery store and a laundry mat and a school that was empty and a church and a bridge leading to the city. Tybee had once been connected to the faraway lands of America by the train but long before Anthony was born the tracks had been uprooted and paved over. A highway that crossed the country, US 80, once began or ended on Tybee and moved westward to California but now the highway was cut and moved so there was no one road that lead a traveler without delay to the far away ocean away from this ocean. The Island was connected to the world by a bridge beside another bridge that was suspended without a middle over the river. This is what it is to speak of the place and time in which Anthony first formed memories and considered the world as an Island.

Maybe birth order allows a child to grow to become an artist, Anthony was the youngest of three, or maybe it stems from owning nothing or from an education or from a question that was never answered to a person’s satisfaction. Maybe it has something to do with wander. The duplex at the end of the dirt road where Anthony grew lay beside the woods and Anthony would look out the door when the raccoons came at night to push over the trashcans and feast. There was a nest built in the wreath his mother kept out yearlong where baby birds hatched and learned how to fly, eyes were watching from the peep hole, surely Anthony’s mother was holding him up with the strength of her arms to watch. There were the turtle eggs that were buried on the front door step on Mother’s day discovered by the children getting out of the car on returning from Church. There was the story of the six foot diamondback rattle snake killed down the road, six feet was twice the height of the boy listening to the story, a giant, this lasts. And there were the tadpoles that were born in the park after the rains, and they grew large and were thick as honey as the sun came out and dried the puddles and left the squirming bodies to shape the land.

There were things more complicated than the simple world of growing up in a quiet place but Anthony did not know them. His mother worked as a Janitor one year at a school and then was hired as a teacher the next, the children slept in one room and there was loneliness and hardship but this was unknown. Dylan was hit by a car and Anthony saw a still body along the pavement and the screaming mother followed by a screaming sister running down the road but what is this to a child? There was the death of Mr. Burns who Anthony spoke to instead of the children during recess but what is this to a child? There is fence that does not have a man speaking across it to a child. There is a shell of a child’s body that is damaged in the brain and there is no more hide and seek, there are no more blackberry’s on the bushes. This is what the child knows. This is the complicated world pushing the peace of place out of the world, it is the bridge leading to the city, it is the empty wreath with birds no more.

The ocean is the last refuge of healing, the salt covers the skin and the child can be a child once more. There is a time when this Island and this water can contain the grandmother and grandfather and mother and sister and brother and disease may exist and death but not to this family, not to those most loved. The quiet Island is the confidence allowed to children who for now are children, fostering some faith and some peace that may outlast darkness or be the guide stone for returning. Elizabeth made Anthony a ring from the stem of a weed and tied it into a knot around his finger. Anthony returned home and hid it beneath a white chair, safe from the vacuum and any eyes. And this, of all things, is the beginning of leaving and the beginning of the next story because it is the first time someone loves you that is not made too by blood or history. A choice to create love is like a choice to create art, it is no choice at all but it seems like one  when the past is flattened and meaning is shaped by minds that cannot fathom the feeling of a world without creation, or without love. This time has passed and now, these things are the only ones that can be truly remembered.  

5th February 2013

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Feb 5th

I have a new site that I am updating weekly, mfaresearch@tumblr. I will continue to update this site as well with my own words and photographs once I get my camera back. 

Last week was a great week, visits with Des and Bryan and my friends, dinner with professor and arguments about the South and then a visit to ATL with my family. I am home now and hoping that my body might allow the ideas I have to form in some way into something beautiful. 

4th February 2013

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Feb 3rd

We do not fear the river

as we should or as we may

It inspires nothing of the wander 

that it would

if we were swept away

Had long dreams last night about my grandfather. He is dead now but in my dream he was close to death and I would look into his room or through his window to see if he had passed. What a strange dream. I also recall flying in a plane- a small engine plane and knowing that there was a fear of crashing but it didn’t seem like it would. 

31st January 2013

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Jan 31

The door frame and the broken window

Speak of man

Because man has built them and man has forgotten them

In speaking to a professor today I realized one thing so sudden I had to say it aloud. We were speaking of age and he said “why do we ignore the elderly, as if we would not become them one day.” And I sat there thinking and I considered my role in this society and how it was bolstered not by those before me or those after me but by my contemporaries, how I shared the most comfort with those my own age- the same issues, the same history, the same cultural recognition.. and I thought about how we relate most to those who we are going through the same issues and have gone through these issues with and I thought about growing old and I thought about how the old loose their contemporaries to death and then there they are, surrounded only by their families and those who came after- those who were not there at marriages and births and through wars and those who were not there to know them when they were young and those who did not live the life they had and in my mind I considered how at different times in our lives we may loose our parents and grandparents and we may loose those older then us but when we begin to loose our contemporaries we find ourselves the keepers of our own story and we understand that the story of those who came after us with be the next story that is told. 

24th January 2013

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Jan 24

Thought today would be a great day but turns out that it was alright with long sections that were not so great. Think all my disconnections and dissatisfactions come from knowing that I am wasting the day but not stopping the waste. Guess there is power in knowing and power in making more from the days that follow because you have to catch up.

Talked earlier in class about Michelangelo and his biographer – thought for a while while we were talking about the role of the artist, the role of genius, the role of the divine in the story of creation.

Jodeco is shaking his paws right now and his eyes are fluttering back and forth as he dreams. Think I’m going to get to bed too and maybe Friday will be something much more promising than today. Goodnight. 

18th January 2013

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January 18th, 2013

Wanted

.

Consider this,

As you might consider a belief

As you might consider relief

As you might consider a poem that begins

With rhyming words because they sound good together

.

I am good with words

And I am damn decent as a man

I raised my dog since he was four weeks old

Waking every four hours to bottle feed him and hoping that

He would survive and I didn’t love him as much I love him now

There was a day when he ate a few yards of carpet and I was calling the vet at home and I sat beside him hoping that he would make it through the night and

There was the day that he was almost hit on Valentines day and

I love him, and he is loyal and good and I love him

And he reminds me of the strength of love when he won’t behave and let someone else walk him and he acts like a baby even though he is 65 pounds and strong

Because he wants my hand at the end of his leash and I am there.

.

Consider this,

That I am honest

And I would tell you about finding David dying

On his blue sheets and visiting him at the hospice

And he would rise up and say that he wanted to leave and

I would say “maybe later”.. and I would secretly hope that death

Might find him and that peace may find him and find me

Because I am selfish and it did, for him, but not me..

And there was the day that the parents of a kid down the road got murdered

And the gunshots were loud as firecrackers and

David’s wife who is deaf was waving and smiling at me

And I ushered her in the house

And bent my body in two as I ran down the road looking to see if I could help

Someone live, but I could not

.

Consider that,

Consider that there is something maybe repressed inside me

That I do not know about that may be more honest than I know

That is waiting for love to reveal to reveal like the day to reveal

Like the only things that happen are not price points at Bi-lo

Or street signs or train tracks or lists I make and art I create and the heart

That breaks when I think of CP

God may have neglected me but he did one thing for me

He sent down a blizzard and snow down across the North Georgia Mountains

And boxed me in the house for one week after CP died and if there would not have been that box and if there had not been that week I might have died too because my body was nothing more than a broken piece of a world that was godless and meaningless and loveless, and I thank God for the weather and Desmal for calling me each day and my mother for running me a warm bath

.

I sat down to write a love poem

Something pretty with the language of lovers

Because I still consider love

I consider it enough to still imagine long nights

That I do not know

And I consider it enough

To believe it might be enough to shake the darkness and believe

That maybe all the darkness that is death, all the darkness that suffering

All the neglect and silence and broken bodies are the shape of a

Love that does not consider itself first

So it is the last thing to be revealed

After all else has been considered

15th January 2013

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January 15th: One day or another.

At the end of an argument I had with my mother one day, years ago, she said to me “remember to listen when you ask how someone is doing before you walk away.”

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I consider mostly in the late of night the implications of the day, and most of all the implications of decisions and of values. I see so often or maybe I project some vision of the many young people I come across, noticing a reliance on their technology in lieu of a reliance or connection with their fellow man. I notice petty childish concerns and petty priorities and think of my uncle who listened and asked questions when I was young. Maturity and age, they are not always linked, often leads me to notice the difference in values but not judge, thinking this is a stage and there is hope always, that a group of people who sign a petition to ask the WH to build a death star might one day use the power of numbers and empathy to petition for an end to poverty, end to injustice.

 .

I don’t feel some great necessity to preach or make a poster of the values I inherit, they are often clear and in progress, inspired by my friends and family and ancestors I hope to make proud. I feel that the great action to change is lack of neglect.

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I notice so often that I am not speaking the same language and it is important to make clear where I stand, listen yes, but some things are non-negotiable at this time. The most non-negotiable aspects of my life are hopes and considerations for better communication, education, ideas to see and experience the world. I wish not to believe that it is impossible to touch each student with art- no doubt it is difficult but any teaching statement I ever write will include something I learned from Swainsboro, that things are not impossible, if it didn’t work then there must be another method if you believe in it.

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I fear the absolutes. I think the oxford American magazine is good but I feel often that they strive for a civilized south that neglects the true south that is still evolving. It is not enough to project a vision if it is not wholly honest but it is nice, I guess to do something than nothing. I do not wish to complain about it. I have eased in my age to take some things as they are, imperfect, but remain hopeful. Maybe one day the full passion of the way I might live might surface but for now I am listening. I am often haunted without knowing why by the darkness of man, the insecurities of man and women, the shallow and broken parts that just seem to continue on without noticing but maybe they do notice and maybe there is redemption at the end of every story that ends without force or too early.

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The Stillmoreroots are maybe the greatest value I know because it has never been fully realized or fully formed or fully dictated to be one thing. It is the south or the art or the life or story I love most to listen to because as the children grow, as the paints are laid out, as the walk begins around the backyard or the food is served there is a beginning that I recognize as an uninhibited exhibition that I don’t need to write every thing down or be morose over the broken parts of an individual or society or history, values are most true when tested and ironically enough, when allowed to be and when you find yourself among those you were meant to be around. This includes family and this includes friends that you have somehow found out of the great mystery of time and space. It is a wonder and this wonder allows the values, the faith, the action to seem seamless in the story you find yourself within one day or another. 

11th January 2013

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January 11, 2013: A New Poem

I know you are,

But what am I

.

Long lives the immortal

Longing

To hold tight

To something as comforting

As a mother holding a child

And saying that it will be

Alright

.

So good a word can only be trusted

For as long as the mother lives

And so do we

.

To be

To not to be

What action of the mind

Can further the suffering of the soul

Than to look so far back and to know

So far ahead that we will be listening no more

.

At great length

Comes to repeat one thing

The living who have lived and known loss

Can know, that a smell from our grandmother’s house

Will haunt us

And our children will take this odor

Of hardwood floors and dog hair and dust that has not settled yet

And think of us, one day

.

This is the way that my hand dots I’s and curls c’s

That is indistinguishable from my ancestors

And this is the same question that was answered by each

That they have never shared with me

If I pray long enough then maybe

They will give me some clue longer

Than a scent I forgot I still recognized

.

I chance, no more to know

Of what pride or simple fortune

Might allow me to honor such a place

Beneath the stars or in my lover’s heart

Or beneath warm covers with windows for walls

With faith that I will wake or if not

That maybe there is more in the less I know

.

And Hamlet holds

Eternally a skull

Pushed darkly in the shadow

Of his finger, held so tightly

And as a child I distinctly

Heard him say

“I know

you are

but what

am I.”

 

Tagged: hamletto be or not to beskullI know you are but what am Ishakespeare