Kitchen Math

Exercises in not counting the cost.

One was always hungry. Two offered what she had until the cabinets were empty. When One was still hungry, Two found the last can of mixed nuts in a drawer. One ate them.

Then it was silent, and the silence made One feel a certain kind of way. “Best to say something now,” One thought. Something positive!

“Hey, Two,” One said, “Remember when you used to bake cakes? Why don’t you do that anymore?”

In the silence that followed, Two took a long breath.

Impasto Portrait

Visual communion.

A shell, a glance, the hush between them. Your pyrotechnic palette, flashbang bravado only masks the stillness as we enter. Once inside, we become the bare guts of ourselves, removed of all packaging, and no one moves in the aftermath, to take up arms again.


Inspired by the work of Sylvia Snowden with phrases from Joe Bradley’s interview with the artist.


Study of extreme closeups.

There is something to know about the parts that are not here.
Move the lens again. Closer and still. Guess what this is. What
looks like a forest is a few square millimeters of flower head.
And what seems like desert stones framing gem is lizard eye.
That fairytale forest is moss on rock, and the apparent geode
is squamous cells from cheek swab. Point the lens and still.
Closer and shoot again. You want to see.


And the cosmological constant.

The doctor is telling me that dark energy is more fluid than the matter I am used to, which seems like somewhat of a gross assumption about my given norms, but I am not in the mood to be difficult so I let it slide and then he leaves the room, and me in it with a sense that things might be pulling away, looking for a phrase opposite to “lightbulb moment” and it’s fitting, I suppose, that I have yet to find it.


Inspired by this article in Knowable, exploring how an early dark energy idea offers a way to resolve a problem known as the Hubble tension.

Careful Cuts

New lens on old skins.

She makes collage from the books of nudes but there is nothing reckless about her approach. She’s like a surgeon. Look. This one looks like a flower, and you think you are getting the obvious metaphor but then she calls it target and you look again and there it is. Bullseye.

I cut the way I was taught to use scissors, she says. Meaning gently, as with paper dolls. I do not tear the figures, she says. Ever. I do not rip, even when I would sometimes like to feel myself as someone who would. But it isn’t in me; I am too careful for that, she says. Instead, she holds and she studies, learning how to look. I follow the lines. I scoop them up, she says, of the nudes. To give them new meaning. 


Inspired by the work of Justine Kurland.

Just in Case

Early lessons in looking.

Children reviewed scenarios. What to do when you are lost in a wilderness with no aid and no promise of its coming. A book might say if they found the right one, how to leave a trail by walking through what is soft. To stop at intervals to write HELP in the snow in the sand in the mud with an arrow pointing in the direction of the feet. How if the course is reversed. To travel back over the prints. To alert anyone who is looking, if anyone is looking, not to go beyond the tracks. To follow the lines of roads and rivers and listen well. If a party calls, they will use an unusual word. Three syllables. Internet! Coconut! Spaghetti! Leave personal items behind. But who has the book.

You can learn to look this way, scanning the horizon for smoke signals, for mirror flash, to train the ear to hear the distant cry. But how did you learn to meet it, children wondered, of the expectation that anyone grown would know where to go when it was time, and when? When the wind comes. Who ties it all down. They cut the books of questions into strips, folded each line into a basket. They would need more for the carrying. 

We Came With Questions

From somewhere.

Give us, they demanded. Some witness. Prayer wants
some sacrifice. To make it count. Prayer wants some
relief from the next sacrifice. To be counted.

Tie my tongue, love. Make me beg. To be heard.
I know what they are telling you. How no murder
happened here and no man ever flew. But I have
lived here long enough to recognize denial
of monsters when I see it

and I see it I see them creeping unseen

[Creep me] back to the dark of noon daylight
when the chorus stopped to haunt these ears
when I before the sky and moon called back
o waiting stars o endless space beyond you

forever made of what. Bring me back.

Rhythm Study

Entrance light.

What the body records, language reveals. In this painting, the dance looks back. Notice the anguished bliss of these blues, the tension of this tenderness strung taught across the entryway. Come in. In this light where you remember, you were there.


Rhythm Study is the title of a piece by artist Le’Andra LeSeur, whose work inspires this post.

Pond Brain

A studio of open minds.

The artist welcomed extremes in her work, so employed bacterial assistants. They see differently, she said. She said the bacteria were very helpful. They bring a new intelligence, she said.

Is that them? We wondered. But it was the slime mold, which had recently arrived to help with the next project. 

What is that?  

We’re doing an adaptation of The Book of Changes.


Adapted from this BOMB interview with Jenna Suelta, for whom collaboration with non-human intelligences is a central feature of artmaking. Pond Brain is the title of a 2023 sculpture she created with bronze, water, sound, and light.