City of Fruit
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This piece was inspired by the 12 children I’ve known (and the thousands that I never knew) to be killed by gun violence, the bodies I’ve seen laying in the streets because of gun violence, the person I saw shot when I was 11, the guns I’ve had in my face over the course of 54 years, the gunshots I’ve heard much too often, the “breaking news” stories of mass shootings, the “single” shootings that occur nationwide daily, the tears I’ve seen and screams I’ve listened to from someone whose loved one was shot and killed.
This piece was inspired by the roots of america.
I created “City of Fruit” as a depiction of the roots as I see them. Beyond the “rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air” is a ticker tape parade of lives lost through senseless gun violence. No place sacred nor “off limits” for those intent on killing.
“City of Fruit” was created out of sweat, love and “ignorance” fatigue, and rinsed in the pain I hear when closing my eyes to listen as humans speak of loved ones killed. It’s exhausting for most, but I feel for the artist it can’t be. Yes, we are human as well and deserve moments to be just that. Yet, tired, we can’t allow the pain to stall or stifle our act of creating. It’s our gift to the world. My paintbrush must keep going for those who no longer can.
From the “entrance” view to the “cemetary” view, this work speaks of how the inception of america, its root beginnings, feed its cities blood by the bullet.
I created this piece for us. To see. To speak. To fix what is broken. To pull up the roots and plant anew. To love.
Welcome to City of Fruit, USA!
This “city” was born at the beginning of america’s conception. Where, along with its idealistic dreams and “In God We Trust” imprinted on its currency, violence and bullets were planted in the soil. It grew into a tree of gold, without a canopy of leaves – an obelisk erected, reaching for the sky, leaving only a few protected by the roots of its sanguine splendor. These same roots fe(e)d the city with pain, tears and misery because among its “God”, the control of chaos is king; and death is a desired debit on the accounts of its story. The storm that undergirds it all, breathes life into death music and much of the populace moves, disjointed in a twostep amended line dance. Where they ignore the sound of blood splashing at their feet.
In this city where the fruit is ripe and feeds the people with air holding hints of sulfur and bodies with lead, children can no longer play with freedom in their lungs nor learn a poem without knowing what “code red” or some other tagline of pending death if not followed, is. This city, aching to preserve its population through controls of who can and can’t give birth, wait. And when the child drops in 9 months…. isn’t overly concerned when 9 students drop and lay in their classmate’s blood in under 9 minutes.
Hypocrites have the audacity to intone they can’t understand why the city is so violent. They are akin to gardeners who watch flowers die but refuse to check what’s feeding the roots. Too much responsibility and obligation are found there I suspect. Maybe, the order of what it is, is found to be the disorder that causes this disease of comfort.
God on the money. Screaming for God after bullets. God bless America. Until God is running for cover during service in a “Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Protestant, Universalist” hybrid church, Mosque or Synagogue. And believers lay dead. The book of Exodus read too late.
What kind of religion does America truly have?
Politicians’ scripture on repeat. Their “book” in the bible of commerce. Their favorite verse “we have to do something about guns in America…I will be talking to (insert the politician du jour)”, is spoken over a production played in a hearse, while in a casket the student who didn’t make it to the second stanza in his first block was texting goodbye to his brother who was being chased while on the block. By the ops or the cops. Knowing they can’t run fast enough before a bullet “hashtags” their existence.
The pain in Newtown sounds the same as in Motown. It sounds the same in a rap song as it does in Las Vegas during a concert where 57 “life songs” end before the hook. 19 grains of Sand in a bed led to unhappiness in a hotel room during a country song of america.
Now the bullets hold all the copyrights.
Silence. Empathy, engagement and action, all lay dead in this growing cemetery called america where apathy tends to headstones.
The "Headstone" Buildings
Tragedy Of A Wanderer (A Bullet’s Soliloquy)
perpetual motion journey
to find a home
darting through the day
piercing the moonlight
a whisper of ignorance
sends me on this lustful
voyage of tragedy
into the depths of earth tones
which reflect off the tears beneath me
distorted views misinterpret this journey/
an unauthorized solicitation of a home
I peer in to the eyes of men
pillage their souls
and reside, shutting out all
screams and thunderous cries
as the windows to life shut
and the house comes crumbling down.