We found ourselves in the studio. Allen was in front of his canvas. It was primed with black. Cheryl was behind her camera. She is always in more than one place. I was on the same green chair I am always on. Sitting there, head cocked, making sense of it all. Allen asked if we were ready. Perhaps. And from here, the pendulum of creative emotions began to sway.
I got married when I was 6 years old. Allen said this from deep within himself. What baffling words these are. Words that are laced with a complicated poison still unknown. My head cocked from one side to another from the attention commanded by them. It was all outside myself. Outside the beleaguered straitjacket of “I” that - if it can be found inside the dusty confines of possibility - “I” was provided recess from the confines of “I”. And with this, “I” was gifted new eyes to see the world of another.
Allen, with his hands smeared with green paint, gave life to the backyard that could be found in his memory. It seemed quiet. His brush glided across the canvas sloppy in its perfection. And then he mumbled something worth a thousand sonnets. Something I would write around if I found myself having the time. Time. Time. And with time comes memory. And of this painting that comes from Allen’s memory he had to say It was like a dream I had last night. It is a dream that always happens the same way. These, however, are the dreams of reality. Dreams of the past. And this dream was of Allen being forced to marry the daughter of the family that sexually abused him. The Morgan Family.
Allen pressed on. The painting had taken on a character of its own. We were given a green foreground. And amid the commotion, the words, and the levity of it all, I fell nullified. My eyes were staring at the canvas. My mind was staring it all in the face. The face of barbarity. The face of sexual abuse. The face of children. From this stream of events Allen was given a memory of being forced to marry a girl who was complicit in the treacherous acts against the sovereignty of childhood.
Allen began giving form to those involved. He did this with figures of slight abstraction. The antagonist of the scene was the elder Morgan sister who could not have been more than 12 years old. Children enacting marriage would be considered acceptable. Some may even find it adorable given the context in which it happened. This is neither given the context. What’s more is my task to catch, through the fishnet of words, the memories lost in the hallways of time.
Allen was near completion. He was tying up the always loose ends of aesthetics. His body quivered in re-creating the scene. Quivered from giving form to his younger self, Mary, and the older sister. And the other kids of the neighborhood who were complicit in this act. After creating the forms of all involved streams of yellow and green could be seen in their place. A brown river carved through the canvas that took the form of a fence.
How subtle are the nuances of this work? This is question if often ask myself. And I often find myself without answers. For I am one person in this cloud of many. What is that I, this one man in a cloud, can do to end the sexual abuse of children. Who am I to say I want to end the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. And from this green chair, as the session was in its commencement, I was once more struck by profundity. I sat in this chair. And on this chair I was to feel a thousand set of eyes upon me. The eyes of children who have never had someone to speak for them. And they were there with us, guiding our creative continuity with clairvoyant hands. They told us to keep stride. To never falter.