Michael Burns – drawing
There I was in the center of the tomatoes, my face turned towards the sun. Yellow like me. The green fruit looked at me and said “You are intruding…we were here first, and now your in here. We don’t like you.
This is our piece of ground and we need it, all of it. Your are too big, you take up too much space.
Your so fat, and cause a cold shadow. We like it warm.”
Me, well I am a late bloomer, I fell out of a ducks ass and here I am, I landed here. Did I ask to start here…no, I didn’t. And so, it not my fault. I am just doing what I am supposed to…grow and blossom and then get heavy, so very heavy with my seeds and stoop over when I get old, get that slouch because of the weight of it…that is what I am to do.
I don’t know how I know that, but I do, know that. It’s what I am. I don’t have a choice.
People like me…I think. Why shouldn’t they…I’m bright and yellow and big…friendly.
Even the birds like me. Bees like me…butterflies, even those crows, like me.
I am named after the sun. What an honour, how many can say that about themselves.
I am named after god.
It gets boring sometimes, here in this exact spot. I mean, lately its worst, these whining little green-fucking-tomatoes. I’m not crowding them out. I am, “Taking up their space and drinking in their water.” Fuck…I did’nt get the start like they did. Grown in greenhouse. Planted by a human, fertilized and watered in…nooo, I was shit here.
So I am making the best of what could have been a bad situation. I mean do any of us own anything, here…the ground we grow in. Who owns it. Definitely not the tomatoes.
Maybe that little bird. Maybe the sun owns it…there would be nobody here if he didn’t shine. It would be terribly cold and so dark…and lonely.
It would be so lonely.
I daydream a lot…I put my face into the sun and then follow it all day until the dark time, and then do it all over again, the next day. I like daydreaming. I like daydreaming…
All the time listening to those assholes whine.
Sometimes bees come along and walk all over the face of me and pick up my yellowness and stick it in little bags on the hind legs and carry it off, and I make more of it. I don’t know were they take it, I don’t even know why they take it. It’s not a big deal though…they don’t take much; it is easy to make more.
Oh, I do like that!
That little bird that comes along…it flys really fast and has a very long beak, and that flicking tiny tongue. The sound it makes, similar but a lot louder than the bees. No, it’s different, it’s quite different.
It likes the water that collects at the bottom of my face, my yellow dissolves in that water, and that tiny little thing drinks it up. I would like to be one of those little birds, I would want to be one of those little birds, but for now, I am this.
They can move so fast…and I have to stay here in this one place. I’m so slow.
Michael Burns Cell Phone drawing
I look out on the water and the ducks, and the wetland. This a good place to grow. I have dreams here…of next year, or the year after, and then there will be many more like me in this spot. Maybe even hundreds. There would no place here, no room left for dam tomatoes…bastards… I like that. Many around here have said they don’t like the tomatoes. There would be just hundreds of yellow faces. No tomatoes, tomatoes are angry, and their hard to get along with… yes I can see it now, hundreds of yellow faces, everywhere…smiling yellow.
I wouldn’t be here, then… I would be gone, to were I don’t know.
Maybe I would be like one of those little birds that like to drink yellow water. That would be good, that would be great. That’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to be a tomato, they don’t seem like they are happy. I am supposed to be happy…I mean I am happy…actually I am not sure if I am happy. Now I am confused about it. I am not sure I know completely what happy is…maybe I am the happiest, and don’t know it. So in that case. I’m happy.
I know I don’t want to be grass. I listen to grass all night, that, ohhhh ooh sound, that reaching, stretching noise it makes.
I am not sure if it is happy. I doesn’t talk to me. I’ll bet it heard the racket from the fucking tomatoes, and thinks I am not very nice. It seems to be in a hurry all the time. And oh does it like the rain. I like the sun. I love the sun.
It has been getting cooler at the dark time. It is quiet then, and I can’t hear the ducks. Even the tomatoes are quiet, rustling away, mumbling very quietly to themselves. I like them at night…well maybe not like. Maybe I should tell them that. Maybe that would stop them bitching at me, if I told them I liked them.
There is an owl that lives behind me, back there, I can’t see there. It is behind my face. He makes hooting sounds at dark time and I hear him flying. I saw him once, late, when all was quiet. It was very dark. He was so big.
Every so often I hear squeaking down at the bottom of me. Some little animal lives down there. He is always moving around in the strawberry patch. Those guys, the strawberries have been here a long time, and nobody bothers them. Ever.
I hear some birds, quietly having intimate conversations at the dark time, in those spruce trees to my right. Whispering; low voices; quiet giggles. I listen, it’s not like I am nosy, I am just curious. Sometimes the ones sleeping near by, get upset, stir squawk and jump to another tree and huff and settle back down.
Sometimes I see the sun’s wife and she shines so bright. Only at the dark time does she come out. And not very often. I can see clear across the water. I like her, everything is silver when she comes by. I feel really good about myself at that time. Kind of energized in a different way.
It is getting darker earlier every day and I don’t get much information were I stand, I always feel like an intruder…the tomatoes make sure of it. They are such assholes.
I am bigger than everybody else here, I take up more space. I don’t do it on purpose. It is just who I am. I’m big. I get so upset about it, and so…I write poetry at night… in my head, about myself, my condition here, what I think of myself. What I think about being… alive, a living thing. It is quite unusual…
I think I am having an existential moment?
Painting acrylic and charcoal on canvas. 16 X 20 inches.
I like poetry…a lot… that little bird makes me think of poems, I could write a dozen poems about him. Actually I could write a poem about the tomatoes, how much grief they give me. That is a good Idea, I think I will write one…
The intruder pushes up and out
and past green fruit envious seven heads and late to a season.
an invitation lost or forgotten in a translation
and in an eagerness supplant the expected ones
those who were invited
shiny faced open
the slave is aglow in musty yellow
and a wing’d friend flits and rushes round me I think he is my friend
racing on towards conclusion
and the many obstacles that block
the late bloom in Autumn’s cool glow, before winters glass
after a false start
some bear their greatness near the end rather than at the start
I would care to say…
the grass grows and I can hear it
praying to God
ohhhh ohhhhhh ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh
prayers silently unrelenting
reaching in quiet unison
for a fading summer light of their God
not enough time
melancholy setting in
for the season of the frozen
lines will rule the sky
and blot out
Michael Burns Painting – Oil and acrylic on hardboard. 18 X 24 inches
I saw my father face in a dream once
I’d never met him and told him so
one second here
a different place
And then I am in the other,
the non ordinary and confused sometimes
but mainly never understood
they tell me that I’m mad
and running circles
round and round and round
I am not mad
I am an artist out-standing in his field