How she watched him turn me on the stairs, force his tongue in my nine year old mouth as she basked in the warmth of fire and merlot, and left me for weekends with his Marine Corps son though I cried, begged her not to, his crew cut head telling me to lie down, stop crying, spread my legs. And the Mother’s Day when she slapped my face, kicked my ribs, ripped the head off my doll because I was still making her gift when she woke—she screamed you worthless shit after all I’ve done these seven years. Even now I would forgive the nights from the time I was five that I pressed the cold glass of her bedroom window against my cheek while he beat her, waiting for her to tell me to run next door, call the police, forbidden to run before ordered, forced to listen to her pleas, his fist, the breaking chair. Forgive if she didn’t wish me dead or could engage in dialogue, but instead she remains three, six, twelve years old simultaneously, unwilling to approach maturity or sanity. I too have crawled the edge of madness, felt its sweet vortex as if cauterizing pain, but I keep stepping back from her outstretched arms, reaching always to pull me beside her.
between bare toes
almost naked I walk miles
soaked in desert rain
and catch it with my tongue
laughing as my mother
walks the balance beam of stone walls
while her husband and I point at Catalina cows
and shout Buffalo, buffalo! and she so nearsighted
wrists held tight as Geno soars me
parallel to the ground
chimes bells ice cr
eam delivered by truck
treasured pink green
yellow plastic dogs
tigers buried in
chocolate strawberry vanilla to be lipped
curled like a sow bug
belly aching as a finger waving in air
tickles as effectively as one would
In the summer of 2009, a friend drove me past this sign, which I had to jump out and photograph while she drove around the block.
Turned out to be a happening for an artist involved with Exit Through the Gift Shop , a documentary that focused on Banksy: underground and overground hero, artist, thinker and social critic. He is illusive, creative, technically stunning, brave, quick and smart. While some argue that he is the best graffitist, Banksy has many peers.
Throughout the world, usually by night, graffiti artists draw attention to the greed and propaganda that relentlessly pushes products, images and manufactured lives into the primal part of our brains. Six repetitions is often enough to bypass our critical thinking skills so that we think something false is true. Yet these people and corporations cry foul when graffiti reveals the real cost of their words, images and products.
Exit Through the Gift Shop not only exposes ruthless greed, but also graffitists’ sensibility and artistic craft, courage and brilliant social commentary. This film explores both some of the best graffiti and guerilla art waged and why Life Is Beautiful!
Carla Zilbersmith, inspiring theatre arts creative director, teacher, singer and comedian to her final words, wrote and performed her critically acclaimed one-woman show not long before her ALS diagnoses, which undermined the serious interest about to bring “The Wedding Singer” and Zilbersmith to a larger audience.
Carla is part of my self-portrait since she helped me develop hand character for my class monologue. People loved Carla. I loved Carla. There are no words for such loss except ALS sucks! and her own: