to seek home

My entire house breathed wood stain that day.  And against logic (attempting to use my massive headache to usher me into clean air), I clung to the vision of this sagging sheet before me–worked and still raw and stretched, if only by the two nails I found rusting in the garage.  I stared long enough to see the face of a little boy asking me to make him.  How immediately I laid down such a literal line of human form: something comfortable.  Something timid.  For this piece, called “Home,” the tangible feature was a something to be erased.

I have become infatuated with the meaning of home.  I grew up like many–making associations;

as long as I am home, no hurt is too big to handle.  as long

              as I am home, no feeling towers too high, too long.

                           [in a house

                            in a mother

                            in a hand on my shoulder like a cup

         remaining inside

                   held in

                   hem in]

                           home always working

like an equilibrium.  Boxing in and balancing out, we establish homes in the people or places or objects or rituals that can swallow up dis-comforts, like ponds swallow rocks.  Swallowing rocks thrown at us:

kneading a way : needing a way

         the ripples : out, out, out

  to return home : to anchor the feet

but amidst the infatuation with Home comes a risk.  That tossing in the gut when the shelter starts to shift.  My canvas brought with it no need for a comforting shape, but an image of absence.  The absence of our flighty not-promises–the step away from our faulty dependencies.

“Home” grew out of an intangible Comfort, drawing me away.  I only painted it because I saw it in a dream.  This isn’t something I frequently share–this tendency of mine to receive my works like dream-parcels–but “Home” was in fact the first piece that I have gotten to assuredly label as “borrowed,” not all mine.  This transition into the awkward (unfamiliar) seat beside the intangible is significant.  I think it has to happen.  I think it is beautiful.  I think that the process of stepping toward the intangible brings us nearer to the brim of God’s robe.

I placed brushes and towels in rows, lining the brim of the canvas: maybe if I lay out my options, the image I’ve held will lay itself out for me.  My dream was an unidentifiable place of security, and my hands gripped with the goal of pinning it down.  I would fight for that glimpse

of blues washing over and under
sharp white. semblance
of a square, all the while unrestricted,
open, and opening
me, that I would pause:
up-taken, adopted, even

after waking.

Upon being stripped of cheap comforts and heavy hands, there exists this opportunity to nestle in, to dwell and to bury our cheeks.  Into a place unattached to material things, yet available in the clunkiest of our daily surroundings.

Though I am grateful for the glimpse of the Home that inspired this piece, what results is a reminder that it takes effort to become detached…to disengage from the comfort of marks easily made, and familiarities easily known:

wood stains of our bricks in rows
empty gaps from a duct-tape removed
boy’s jaw–a line to be erased
circular splats deemed free, though forced
and a box reinforced, following
my ironed edges.

What I know is this: a Comfort exists, whose name is Home.  This is its portrait, as best my hand can transpose.