Friday, October 19, 2012

The Painting

I've been meaning to post this poem for a while.  
I think it's the first poem I have ever truly written for someone. And that someone is my sister, Kelly. If you don't know Kelly, first of all, you're missing out and you should find out how you can know her(but you can start here). Second of all, you should know that she is very brave. I say she is very brave because she is doing and has done more than I could ever do. That encompasses a whole shitload of stuff, but mainly, for the purposes of this post, I'm talking about making art and going to art school.
I'd be lying if I said I wrote this only for her. I was once in her shoes (albeit not as intensely because it was only at the community college level), and I hope I got it right. By it, I mean the whole experience of making art in an institutionalized setting (I think there's a pun in there somewhere...) and having it judged on a daily basis. You get the shit beat out of your creativity and ego and probably more, and in addition to that, you have to keep it together and not have a mental breakdown every day
But I digress.
I wanted to write a poem that was different for me, but that I could still get right. 
Hopefully I got it right, and hopefully Kelly thinks I'm a little bit more brave by posting this. 

(And special thanks to my sister, Kelly Colligan, for giving me permission to use her art in this post. I love you.Everyone should check out more of her art.)

 The Painting
I don’t know if I’m an artist
Or a magician.
And I’m tired of hiding
That under the coat
My skin is scraping off.

That when I see you,
Or any human,
I want to eat a piece
So I can resemble the person
I was before
More complete or finished. 

Some days I’m completely asleep,
I feel it slowly
Then all at once.
Ordering the pieces from largest to smallest.
Like a mosaic.
Like I meant to do it.
Pulling rabbits from my hat.
I wonder how much I have to destroy
Before I am satisfied.
How many times I must smash myself
Before the picture is whole.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Red Fish Blue Fish

Okay. As promised, a very very short story. We were supposed to write an entire story in only two pages. It was extremely difficult for me, and if I added one more word, it would have been too long for the assignment.
Also, it's inspired by a certain customer that used to come in, so I thought it was only fitting to include some of the people I work with. So if you're reading this, Devon and Amy, I mashed you two together so I could fit you into two pages. Have fun, and I hope everyone likes it : )

Red Fish Blue Fish

            I can only go to the pet store for my supplies on Tuesday mornings. Amy is the only one who doesn’t think I’m strange.  She goes to school full time, so during the fall, she only works on Tuesdays.  She has blond hair and wears glasses mostly. I think she’s pretty, even if she is never wearing makeup at nine AM because she works at a pet store and has to wake up early so why bother. I always get the same thing, but it’s always different. Thirty large feeder goldfish, but I have to pick each one individually. She is the only one who knows my secret, and the only person I would tell. When I first met her, she asked me the normal questions that everyone else did when I insisted to pick each one out: “What are you feeding?”
            Depending on whoever I was talking to, I would change the answer. But today, I decided I was feeding a piranha, so I told her so. And she quietly and patiently let me pick out the ones I wanted. Goldfish aren’t just gold. They come in all types of different color combinations: orange and black, white, or white with orange spots, grey, gold, and sometimes even yellow. The fins are always either long or short; their eyes can be black or blue.
            There is a lot of decision making that goes along with these variations.
           And then there are always things to watch out for. Does the fish have some type of disease that could infect the rest of them and lessen another’s chance for survival? Are its eyes cloudy? Are there any swimming with clamped fins? These are all factors that I have to take into account.
            But this girl has never given me anything but survivors. That’s one of the reasons why I chose her. The reason why I told her my secret.
             “Why do you have to pick each one out individually?” She asked me one morning with a smile. “If you’re just going to feed them to something else, why does it matter what color they are?” It was a friendly, curious, question, and she is always so nice to me, picking thirty specific fish out of the tank of at least seven hundred where other employees have either rolled their eyes or simply said no.
            So I answered her: “I like to name them all. Having different colors helps me keep track.”
            She laughed, a soft, happy sound that I hadn’t heard in a while. “But they’re just going to die. Why bother?”
            “I keep a notebook and write each one’s name down.”
            She looked confused.
            “That way I can write how long each one survived, if there was a particular struggle between it and the piranha,” I realized I might be scaring her, so I added on,  “It’s silly, but I feel the need to give each one something more than just death.”
            She took in what I said for a few seconds as she poured my fish into a plastic bag, filled it with oxygen, and tied it with a rubber band. “Well,” she said as she handed me my purchase. “That’s more than most people give them.”
            “Thank you,” I said when I took my victims from her small hands.
            “I’ll see you next week,” she said. “Have a good day.”
            I smiled and went to the register and paid for my thirty writhing fish. I walked to my car and checked the trunk to make sure all of my supplies were still there from last time. I dug the pocket notepad out of my jeans flipped to a clean page. I would have to buy more duct tape before Amy got off of work at three. I wrote her name down anyway, wondering how long she would survive as I drove to the hardware store.