chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

found poem: Frustrated

found poem: within

found poem: there’s no today.

selfie

1980s DAK self sketchMy mother wanted to be a photographer. Not as a profession, but literally to “take” pictures — to bring home with her the abstractions of color, line and form she saw everywhere.

She struggled with one camera after another. My father patiently showed her and wrote cues to help her remember the sequence of buttons. He gave her his own camera, which looked so easy and which she was sure she could master, and when that defeated her, he found her a simpler one. But that, too, was just an incomprehensible box of buttons that she eventually stuck in a drawer, giving up the idea of taking photographs.

Dorothy would undoubtedly have found a cell phone equally daunting, but she would have loved the idea of selfies. In fact, she created hundreds of them, with pencil and brush, pastel and ink. If they did not provide the instant gratification she hoped to achieve with the camera, they left a record of how she saw herself, stripped of artifice — a harsh beauty seen through an acute and unforgiving eye.

found poem: collar

found poem: ever

found poem: THE SHORES

found poem: space

found poem: the dark

found poem: the stars

found poem: I am writing

found poem: cloud

mud

1940s Dorothy in mudAmong the many photos of my mother looking well-groomed — even her most casual clothes selected with care, her curly hair coiffed — there are a few, like this one, where playful replaces meticulous. Dripping with mud, neck to toes, she stands in a ditch looking messy and relaxed.

Like any person who doubts their own beauty — and really, who is immune to such doubts? — Dorothy was seduced by the promised magic of fashion and potions that could make her sleek and lovely, or at least less different. Within such promises was also the suggestion that lovelier meant more lovable and she labored throughout her life to feel that she was someone who could be loved. In her appearance, as in her artwork, she longed for the favorable opinion of others and struggled to accept — and appreciate — the qualities that were uniquely her own.

found poem: DUST

found poem: shake

found poem: does the line

found poem: poetry

found poem: memory

found poem: night

found poem: accepting

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