Man needs colour to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water. ~ Fernand Leger
every word i say. i remember how i would ask her for advice, leave her tiny messages of love in my questions across the wire. how do i, would you show me, what would you recommend…
somehow i never felt it was her greatest desire to take care of me. she was done long ago with those duties. i tired her out. i was not her young artists like they were. (ah, i was the smart one).
please, just love me fierce.
he let me stay the baby. until i wasn’t. until he replaced me with others. and suddenly i was the grown up, listening to his reality, trying to hold him up.
she never saw me as the baby, wanting me gone so she could have her own life without us. go, you aren’t to be trusted, go.
i tried for years, tried to understand what my heart was telling me, tried to be who i thought they wanted. i struggled under the weight of my own brutal expectations of myself. neither in the end were proud of me.
he had to die. i had to let her die. it was essential for me to find out how to live.
last night you told me you felt like you were awakening. i sat, quietly, wanting to tell you how much i felt, how alone i no longer feel, how i too am emerging from this fog.
this new life, it beautifies and it terrifies and i am – christ almighty i am –
(i thank you for holding me in the darkness as i wandered into the light) (i thank you for your hand on the small of my back, guiding me yet letting me explore, connecting me to you each morning, each sunrise, each time my eyes close back into darkness).
when did they ever see me? they didn’t. maybe they never were supposed to. maybe that’s when the egg cracks, and we emerge. maybe today i’m being born and you just didn’t know any different until you felt the air on your skin.
i don’t see anything of shapes and art and sound. not the way they tell me i should. there is no definition other than what i prepare this sunday morning. i see you. you see me. it mantras in my head like the comfort of this beaten pillow.
how the days grow longer (as we get closer). i am that small boat, drifting, melting into the horizon. you, the harbor that waits each evening. when the sun gazes and we worry, there is colour. thankful.
you will gaze upon me and see. i have years in my eyes, beginnings left behind, stories left untold, sweet and sour, shiny and matte. photographs in old trays, coming to be. remembering those red rooms, the music on the radio, the times i cannot explain. but they are yours.
when i was young they may have seen, maybe they ran, perhaps they realized. thirty four years later he would be fluttering eyes in a hospital room in st charles, reaching towards a woman finding her madness in his last breaths. how dare you leave me again, i am so mad at you, so mad at what you’ve done, how dare you how dare you how dare you…i cried in fury and shook in that moment and threw myself against your chest as your tear fell out of your eye, brow still a cold sweat, knowing i was there.
all i can hope is that you saw me before you left. four years passed and i wonder if you ever saw me how he sees me today. does a father see? does he remember she is still young, reading books and smelling roses and looking for his smile?
he dies every day (he lives inside me). colour, lives inside me.
my father, alive, 1995