the earth tells me i am too small and i grin back all bloody corners and chapped lips. i have never looke innocent a day in my life, i know, i know. my smile has always been too hungry to satisfy. i am continuing the long tradition of men i am wanting more than i can have i am biting off more than i can chew i am running faster than my legs allow me to.
the earth tells me i am too small and i know it's true, i have known since childhood that i am nothing, i am a single lamp in the cacophony of light that is a city. the universe is cold like a biting winter's day, you can feel it, i swear, from all the way inside, i can feel it just sitting on my bed sometimes the chill of the universe has seeped its way inside of me, the dust settling into my lungs like something we call allergies.
the earth tells me i am too small and i scream, scream until it feels like my lungs will give out.
In the morning I watch the mountains fade into the cream of the sunrise and count the seconds before the fog lifts. Suddenly, as if by accident, my eyes reflect in the curve of the earth as it tilts, slightly off balance, teetering on the edge of elegance, or destruction, or that feeling I get right before I open my mouth.
I spilled coffee over the concrete floor at work and stood there, brown stars on the pale cuff of my shorts and so much hope I didn't know whether to get a mop or a match. I wanted to take my shoes off, to splash through the puddle as if it were rain.
When we are young we are determined to grow up singular: one goal, one plan, one happiness, one lift-off, one chance at an impact. Today, I am multiplying. I roll down the car windows in a thunderstorm, I draw constellations on my clothes, I carve wings into a door in the public restroom, I tell myself that dusk marks the start of the night of the rest of my life.
Sometimes inspiration is derived from an unlikely source. That was the case in this particular work which features Ben Cayer and Mindy Brock, married nurse anesthetists in Florida. The couple shares a common duty of placing a breathing tube down a patient's throat for surgery, a particularly high-risk job during the coronavirus pandemic. Brock and Cayer have been married for five years and met in nurse anesthesia school in 2007. The couple says they hope the image inspires others during the pandemic. I chose to paint this image on a mask as I feel it serves as an inspiration for all of us during the pandemic. People like Brock and Mindy are a shining example of those who put themselves at risk for those who are less fortunate so that they can have their health, happiness and freedom.
Around the time this work was produced, a survey for the BBC by Ipsos MORI of more than 19,400 people in 27 countries found the majority of people in all but two countries felt their society was divided. In fact, seventy-six percent of people globally believed their country was divided, and 59 percent believed it was more divided today than it was 10 years ago. This sense of division is a symptom of the times as there has been a decline in trust in traditional institutions and a rise in the belief that the current system is broken. Citizens in general no longer believe that governments, politicians and other institutions can deliver on their promises.