Shout outs to the Magic City writers (South Omaha used to be known as the Magic City) pushing knowledge with the streets right behind them visually through language painting the city like a canvas because we need more equity. Maybe that’s the green greed in me. Or living below poverty. This ain’t nothing new. Isolate in my home. Mad Max battle with myself driving down my brain’s ridge roads, waiting to explode as the environment implodes. Chin check my wallet as the reality check. Y el cheque que?
Being in isolation is not a new reality for many artists often working alone. For those of us who suffer stress in some sort of way (who doesn’t?), we feel that we’d rather be alone. Alone with our thoughts, and going down rabbit holes of anxiety, somehow feels normal. But small interactions can become more meaningful because they occur especially when needed.
For instance, during this time I realize how important it is to maintain connectedness, especially to and for the ones who care most about us. My mom is continuously trying to lure me and my lady with home-cooked meals. At one point I scolded her for it and told her to stay home as much as possible and that I won’t see her for a few weeks.
Como se te occurre no visitarme?! She scolded me, as a son should not scold their mother, and for even thinking of not visiting. I said, I’m really sorry mama. I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to make you cry but I’d rather not see you for a while than not see you ever again.
Especially knowing that people may carry the virus but not show symptoms or even get sick. It’d be fine to stay at least six feet apart, but that’s my mom, it’s impossible to not give her a big hug and kiss on the cheek every time I see her. So we talk almost every night instead.
As for the money issue, which some of us might be having now or soon, I’m used to living with little capital, so again nothing new. Invierto todo en mi carrera porque el arte va primero. A good amount of my earnings always end up going towards more art making. So I spent most remaining funds on my solo show at Project Project in January this time.
Usually a magical project always pops up which pays for it all, but the magic meter is low right now and the jobs I had lined up seemed to have evaporated. Holler at your boy if you want a spray paint mural. Or any mural. Or any artwork.
I began making a few phone calls to friends living in California to check up on how things are going, and to catch up for it had been ages since I spoke to some of them. I come to find that unfortunately one of my friend’s brother had passed away. Not recently but last year. I was not able to react properly. I gave my condolences. I remembered hanging out with him as he was only a few years younger. I remembered when he started playing music and when he joined a band. I never made it to one of his shows.
And then, a few days ago I was talking with my fiancé, everything was sort of getting to me. I began to tear up a bit. She says, “why are you crying?” To make it clear I had not been crying at that point, but her accusations brought me to tears. It had been a really long time the last time I cried of sadness. Almost three years to be exact, while speaking on the phone to my grandmother. After a five-second, riveted river fell down my cheeks, I joked about her calling me out on crying.
We have to laugh. We have to talk to each other. We have to see each other (digitally or six feet apart at the least). We have to cry every now and then. Most importantly we have to keep creating. And we have to remember. Rest In Peace Matt Babe, tia Angela Hernadez-Flores, Michael “PHASE 2” Lawrence Marrow, and Angel “Boogie” Cañas.