I made this poetry and art video for the virtual Art Bar Poetry Series. The poems are accompanied by paintings and drawings that speak to their message. Hope you enjoy the video!
The first angel was an accident. In my darkest time, the angels that followed were like the work I’d done years before, of demons and almost-humans that reflected my life and observations and what came to me in the night.
Then it came time to put the darkness away. I began to paint angels that would keep watch over us. Now I believe in Happy. I think that if you believe, you can find it.
I drew my mother for the first time when I was in art school, and didn’t draw her again until she had her first, then second stroke, and became like a child to me. Nothing prepares you.
When my mother passed, I was lost. I did not know how to survive but I started to paint, madly, and write, always. I pulled the despair out of me and onto paper.
I painted my pain, then angels, and then my mother began to nudge me, telling me it was time to paint her. I looked for her in the wedding photos that were taken when she was just nineteen. I found her in the hours, days and weeks that I spent looking into her face, her eyes.
Beloved mother, you never leave my side. Your beautiful, gnarled, arthritic feet rest in my lap, and I am home. You lie in the shadows of me, keeping me from harm.
Photo of my mother, Zalakha, with my daughter, Natasha, in the summer of 2010, before the first stroke.