After another (much worse) failure to indict, I was drawn to resurrect (ha, ha) this African Christ figure. It was something to do. There is the sense that there is no keeping up. There’s no keeping up with the tragedies. I set aside my Ferguson quilt to work on it.
It was so weird to Christmas shop this morning. As I walked along Rte. 9, I considered continuing east all the way to Boston. But — why? Why would I do that except to prove something to myself? Or to walk off confusion and despair? I was eating duck egg rolls in an Irish tavern in Brookline last night, unaware of the gathering in Boston. So maybe it would have been something closer to atonement? Taking in impressions of the day-after?
No. I went shopping. Bought a lot of chocolate. Made and then cancelled an appt. at the Apple store. Bought warm shirts or nice tees for everybody.
Back to the crucifixion (see how disjointed?!!) The figure was constructed a couple of years ago and I never really knew what to do with it. Back then, I drilled holes into the area around the head and so I could loop waxed linen and beads in. For the crown of thorns, I attached a wood pick thing that I found somewhere (I don’t know what it was).
For the torso and legs, I hammered wool roving to a fairly thick stick. There’s one rusty and long to represent the spear. If the nail is one original to our house, it dates back to the time of slavery.
I found the rusty coil walking home from the mall — picked it up, wondering what it means to live in a society where some people are disposable.
This morning I tied a ribbon of burnt velvet around the neck and knotted it tightly. It was hard not to feel a little sick while doing so.
There are words under the body that came from an old quilt called “Valentine to Iraq”. On that quilt, I repeated the words, “All mothers of sons want them to live.” The fragment above ended up in a little composition by itself and is sized about right for the cross and figure. The only words here are : “of sons / want them”. They will not be visible unless you lift the body.
The indigo stripes along the bottom were started in South Carolina and finished here. I like the fact that the cloth spent some time on “Rebellion Farm”, so named because the Stono Slave Rebellion happened near or actually there, I don’t know which.
In keeping with the idea of a ‘house quilt’ that shows only a small piece of roof and all sky, I considered the quilt without the figure.
I ditched the hoodie idea — too cumbersome and obvious and it would have been horrible to stitch through. The hood would have required stuffing, too, to avoid the association with KKK hoods.
I like the butter soft linen better.
For the second time recently, I found myself thinking about outrage. Is it righteous? Self-righteous? Do I say stuff in an attempt to convince somebody of something? Or am I just needing to express that outrage? Can I trust my sources? More personally, what is it about African American suffering that has so gripped me, changed me, propelled me? Do I have to explain that? Or, apologize for that? Will this nightmare ever end? Will the protests make a positive difference (I hope so)? Are we in the middle of an “American Winter” — with social media changing everything (please, please)? If I were more spiritual, would I be better at letting go of ‘for’ and ‘against’?
Mostly, tonight, I think: Who gives a shit about upper-middle class discomfort at the moment… I offer it to you anyway.