Children Dance On Water I Wonder Why They Wash Away Sometimes
September 28 – November 2
Opening Reception: September 28, 5- 8 PM
Porcelain Plates Hold Cyborg Supper Or The Two-Dimensional Door Through The Loop At The End Of My Rope
My tongue feels like bronze. We walk through walls. We all walk through walls. We all walk through walls. We all walk through walls. We, um, all walk through walls and it’s my middle boy’s birthday today. I made him a cake with twenty candles and we have a bubble machine in the backyard. Can you guess the flavor of frosting? Can you imagine walking up to a wall and walking through it? I think about all the things your children go through. There are happy times and sad times because you are never really prepared for the next moment in your child’s life. People don’t like transformation, people transform with difficulty but my kids keep growing every year and when they achieve something, that is when it kind of hits you, you know, maybe it is the day they move out of the house, or maybe you say, hey, let’s play that game and they say no, I’m too old for that. My eyes filled with tears after I heard that for the first time. Those are the moments when it hits you. My oldest children are two twin boys and my youngest are two twin girls. But the one in the middle, he was always wanting a twin. Even at twenty, he still feels like he is missing something. He always felt alone and I guess I sympathized with him to an extent, being that way. You know? I can remember different situations through the years. Remembering painful memories from your children’s past is very difficult for me. I remember this one time when my kids were in the backyard of my parent’s house and they were on our motorcycle. It was raining and the property had a lot of hills and the grass was slippery. I don’t know where the hills went, I really don’t. A barbed wire fence separated the backyard from where the cows were. My middle boy was riding the motorcycle and was trying to operate the brakes but he hit the barbed wire fence at full speed and his little body went through that fucking thing. He told me later he didn’t remember going through. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet and sunglasses and the barbed wire didn’t rip out his eyes. I still feel terrible about not watching him closer. I hear the two twin girls scream and I see my middle child walking towards the house with ripped clothes and blood all over his body. He has a slice on the right side of his face and a huge slice right below his clavicle on his right side. A good father would have grabbed their baby and immediately rushed them to the emergency room. But instead, my boy pushed me away and said he didn’t want to be touched. He went into the house and into the bathroom and locked the door. He washed the blood off his little body and took off his ripped shorts and shirt. I watched as he opened the bathroom door. Blood was still coming out of his wounds. There were wet and bloody towels on the bathroom floor and I told him we are going to the emergency room now. I put clean white towels in the back seat of my car and drove him to the emergency room where he got stitches. I just think of those moments and how really fucking painful they are. By remembering all the places in the past my son was scared and scarred he becomes perfect again.
I hear my mom telling me dinner is ready. I take off my Oculus Go and I smell the suckling pig, the mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and corn on the cob. The fire is still burning in the backyard and our food is served on the porcelain plates I made in high school. I take a bite of my peas and one falls on the floor. My beautiful birthday boy picks up the pea and tells me he loves me. I tell him I’m afraid of dying and that I love him too.
Can I just be honest? I look at people as though they are cyborgs, which they are. I know it and you know it. I’m a cyborg and you’re a cyborg. Please, just come over here with me and look out that window. You see there? Over there, by the fire. You see? That’s my mom and dad cooking supper and that fire, those flames, remind me that I’m trying to learn how to live on my own. I really don’t know though if I’m actually really learning anything. To be honest I don’t know what happened to me that I’m incapable of surviving on my own. Let’s go outside. The suckling pig is dripping and my mom tells me she had a miscarriage before I was born. I wonder if that child would have been like me or someone completely different? I ask her what the fuck brought that up? She says that she was just thinking about the mother of the suckling pig.
Every year I’m here, sitting at this same wooden kitchen table eating off these same porcelain plates and every fucking year since 2009 I’ve been sleeping in the bed I’ve had since I was a kid. Trust me, I’m more depressed about my situation than you could ever be. You guessed it, I had to move back home with my parents. What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t find a fucking job. I think about the Great Recession all the time. Plenty of people my age tried to find work. I applied to Domino’s Pizza, I didn’t get that fucking job. I still eat their pizza though when my parents order it. The only job I could finally get was as a part-time grocery cashier after I graduated from college. What’s the fucking point of being ambitious? My Baby Boomer parents both had one job their entire life until they finally retired. They were completely delusional and unsympathetic when the Great Recession happened and I was unemployed. I really shouldn’t be so hard on them since they let me move back into their house. I still think Baby Boomers are the fucking worst though to be quite honest. After repeatedly arguing with my parents, I think they finally realized that the world is different from when they were young. I just put back on my Oculus Go and think about what I want to do with my life. That’s the question you want to really ask me, isn’t it? Well, ask it, go ahead. That smile on your face when you asked me that question. Really fucking funny I know. Well, let me think, I guess, um, I want to fall in love with a cyborg but my hopelessness is profound. I see the cyborg in my mind as a two-dimensional door through the loop at the end of my rope. Love is seeing yourself reflected in another cyborg’s eyes. You recognize their recognition and they recognize your recognition. I don’t have anything to live for anymore. I spend all my time trying to create an environment that I want to replace life in. Maybe all I am is an algorithm? I think that is probably true.
About a month ago I thought I was never going to be happy. I still make my parents miserable and I keep trying to find a way out of their house so they can be free of me. My depression kept looping, the same thought, the same action. I thought, maybe you have to choose between happiness and truth and that is when I had my five imaginary children and I became happy. When I am with them and they are cared for I am filled with joy. When I see them loving each other in front of me it makes me so happy. I feel happy in those moments, it’s a feeling of right now, right now, I’m happy, this is it, it is happening in this moment, I’m happy right now. They are making me time travel back to the past and I think how good it is to be young. My children made me realize that happiness is certainly not pleasure. They are showing me a childhood I didn’t have and it feels good and for brief moments you forget. Can you delete the past? I think about how life is really, really long. I want us all to live forever. I remember, I find myself saying that at least five times a day. Even though existence is lingering, happiness came into my life because I allowed myself to forget from time to time. But it is hard for a cyborg to forget.
For press inquiries contact:
Paul Michael Brown
270 925 2311