Opening Reception Thursday, July 20, 6-8PM of Friends of Ceres Gallery

 

What do I do?

 

Written after Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, December 14, 2012

Inspired by the poet Maxine Kumin, “What you do”

 

Aurora, rosy-fingered dawn gave her name

to a town in Colorado

where a redhead opened fire

and filled their movie theater

with real-red-blood.

 

That was last year.

 

December afternoon, lowers itself to dusk

cellphone loose in my hand

Lake Carmel, mirror quiet

“Getting chilly,” I say to my childhood friend.

 

Bleep-bleep. Breaking News.

Mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Fairfield County, Connecticut

 

That’s 26 miles away!

My world drops.

shrivels— two dark-moon eyes, in a watery pear of lake.

 

Between shock-stabs she and I remember—

       atom bomb drills.  The dive under our wood-topped metal desk.  How we cowered and              clung together,      

       pigtails wedged into the sharp corners. 

       It hurt to crawl out to a world

       about to fry.  Please, we whispered—2             little girls,

       please don’t let us die!

 

             26 dead

           20 children

          6 grown-ups

        details to follow

        gunned to bits.

 

I speed dial my daughter in Virginia.

Blurt and squeal-sob the news.

Manage to advise,

Turn off NPR in the car

when you pick Hayden up from school.

 

Pulse my breath

       protect him.   Four year old laughing              sunshine of my life.

 

                What do I do?

Limp home

rant for pages in my notebook

squirm—a mass of blood-streak-sleep

night following night.

 

               I plunge into my studio

sculpt

guns—His Hers, Junior, Princess

fingers stiff, stuck into shooting clay

eye rims red

daylight fled, sink into my bed.

 

                Weapons’ whisper

blood- barrels thrust. Blow

sweet-first-sucking-kiss of bullet

god-speed juicy babes.

       Strew those pink, brown babies,

       make them climb. Put them to sleep

       safe in ready-aim-fire-nests.

 

 Spring Guns, Summer Guns,                    November guns

December.

Fireplace upstairs

flames the small room

brash-red-orange.

Like Betsy Ross, 

count, cut,

       7 red,

       6 white stripes,

       place and space rows—6/5, 6/5, 6/5, 6/5

       stars on a field of denim blue.

 

Stitch and glue

tear white sheets

scraps-rip.  Become hearts ripped

100 rounds a minute.

Fly and dance the pistols, the rifles the

Sakos, Sig-Sauers, Savages-

swift, above the stripes.

I pledge allegiance (under god), to the flag of the United States of America

my child-hand over my heart. 

each day, year

after year, I stood behind the wood-topped metal desk.

The needle pricks my finger.

        America under gun loses her stars

We bleed.

 

July 18-August 12, 2017.  On view my: Mixed Media Quilted Flag, ”America Under Gun”

Artist’s Statement  

Artist’s Statement

 

         One week after my Exposure 2012 show at Ceres, the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, occurred. As a grandmother, with a grandson close in age to the murdered children, the horror resulting from America’s love affair with guns hit hard.  For months, in order to penetrate their mystique and macabre hold on us, I sculpted guns and wrote poems to accompany them.          I found out that Wal-Mart sells them on line at a discount with free shipping. There are pink guns for women and guns for children of all ages- even toddlers.          The guns themselves on all of my pieces are my approximations of the real deal, both modern and ancient, as well as some which are fantasy exaggerations.           The flag on show, was the culmination of the series.  In researching art images of the American flag, the blue field with stars is depicted on the left.  Mine is a studied reversal, to highlight the emotional “right brain” field. The famous pieces in museums are by men.          Since Sandy Hook, there is a never-ending stream of mass mayhem and murder with legally acquired military grade assault rifles. They have nothing to do with protection or hunting and continue to be readily available.  This artist’s statement is being written shortly after the mass shooting inside Bronx Lebanon Hospital, New York City.          So, I consider America under gun. I have included photos of the work in progress.  First came the paper renditions, which I had to arrange to “dance” across the flag.  At the time I was moving and only had a big enough surface to begin with on my bed!  Then I moved to the floor.  I used quilting techniques with my sewing machine and took advantage of modern iron &stick-on purchased stars.  The torn and bleeding hearts are dyed with mercurochrome, an old fashioned antiseptic I found in an abandoned medicine cabinet, which stains beautifully.  Plus, there is the irony imbedded in using a medicine, which is woefully inadequate to heal those of us left behind.          The poem was inspired bypoet  Maxine Kumin’s stirring, “What you do.”

         One week after my Exposure 2012 show at Ceres, the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, occurred. As a grandmother, with a grandson close in age to the murdered children, the horror resulting from America’s love affair with guns hit hard.  For months, in order to penetrate their mystique and macabre hold on us, I sculpted guns and wrote poems to accompany them.

         I found out that Wal-Mart sells them on line at a discount with free shipping. There are pink guns for women and guns for children of all ages- even toddlers.

         The guns themselves on all of my pieces are my approximations of the real deal, both modern and ancient, as well as some which are fantasy exaggerations.

          The flag on show, was the culmination of the series.  In researching art images of the American flag, the blue field with stars is depicted on the left.  Mine is a studied reversal, to highlight the emotional “right brain” field. The famous pieces in museums are by men.

         Since Sandy Hook, there is a never-ending stream of mass mayhem and murder with legally acquired military grade assault rifles.

They have nothing to do with protection or hunting and continue to be readily available.  This artist’s statement is being written shortly after the mass shooting inside Bronx Lebanon Hospital, New York City.

         So, I consider America under gun. I have included photos of the work in progress.  First came the paper renditions, which I had to arrange to “dance” across the flag.  At the time I was moving and only had a big enough surface to begin with on my bed!  Then I moved to the floor.  I used quilting techniques with my sewing machine and took advantage of modern iron &stick-on purchased stars.  The torn and bleeding hearts are dyed with mercurochrome, an old fashioned antiseptic I found in an abandoned medicine cabinet, which stains beautifully.  Plus, there is the irony imbedded in using a medicine, which is woefully inadequate to heal those of us left behind.

         The poem was inspired bypoet  Maxine Kumin’s stirring, “What you do.”