"How are you, Gaga?"
"How are you, Gaga?"
These photographs were taken in October 2016 by Isadora Shamash at a pivotal moment in my life. Deep grief and rebirth were happening in tandem, shared daily with my friend. We explored our emotional selves, allowing the depth to be uncovered. We returned to ritual to punctuate, as seen by me smudging the landscape of Elk Creek in Fairview, PA.
There is something so primal about seeing your baby in her fathers arms, knowing together you created this amazing human being. Without one the other would not exist.
I birthed this amazing girl 4 months ago and my life gets better every single day. Thank you my darling Stella Claire for joining me on this journey.
As I review the last few years of loss, love, travel, the memories flood back to me, the smells, the movement, the vivid color. I have been very fortunate.
One vivid experience was during my visit to Moengo, a town inland Suriname, close to the Amazon. The trees were extraordinarily tall, thin, and tall. The buzz of insects and animals was thick, as thick as the brush underneath our feet, crunching as we stepped further inside. Without our guide, we would have quickly been gobbled up by the surroundings. The smells were rich of forest and dew. Flora and fauna twisting and twirling, free to move and grow as they pleased, lush.
As we walked further into the jungle, he taught us, mostly with hand motions and by example, of how he and his friends would hunt and navigate the wood, marking trees with his machete, banging on the trees, clearing the brush. He showed us the fun he had, and has, inside this landscape, also demonstrating his familiarity, and comfort inside. A place deeply close to his heart.
One of the last moments in our walk, he pulled on a hanging branch, hanging far, far down from heights beyond my imagination and began swinging on it. Our giggles erupted, the children inside of us begging to join in on the fun.
All images are 35mm black and white negatives, copyright SMKM.
**Thanks to Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator I was chosen to travel to Suriname as part of their annual International Cultural Exchange program, 2016**
When my sister died, August 11, 2016, we decided to have a birthday party for her. Her 25th birthday was coming up, September 4, 2016, and we wanted to celebrate her, as well as come together, again. I wanted to plant a tree for her, as a way to honor her wishes of being cremated at The Farm (in Fairview, PA) and Harbour Island, Bahamas. I had her hair and would plant it with the tree to watch her grow.
This is the tree we found, a joyful, dancing Weeping Japanese Cherry Blossom Willow Tree. It blooms pink in the springtime, and was 11 feet tall. I hugged it immediately.
Claire's spirit rules all, she is present in all ways and most recently, my film.
New Orleans, Louisiana
I have been avidly photographing spaces, places, homes left behind in the diaspora for many years. Curious about the creation of a home and the decision to abandon ship, allow for new dwellers to arrive. Spiderwebs have a certain vulnerability that I find in homes injured in New Orleans, and homes left partially made. Nature always has a way of taking over, whether through expression or through growth, or both. This work has carried me through. I appreciate the human desire to tend to spaces, to renovate, to repaint, to upkeep, as much as I admire the human habit of creating and abandoning. Not all spaces are left inhabited, but all spaces leave their mark.
2016- A year of great loss
But with a glimmer of joy
Let’s not forget the light in the dark
Two beautiful baby boys
Christmas has come for another year
Their first in the Bob Knox home
But as we gather for holly and cheer
To the Ladies, I dedicate this poem.
First, the woman of many names
Margie, Grandma, and Mom
Different roles, but to her the same
All fabulous, loving and strong
Always in style-the best clothes, jewels, and shoes
At life she was a winner
She early established the rule of twos
That is, dates per night, and drinks before dinner
She spun circles around all the boys
On the Rainbow Gardens dance floor
But it was Bob Knox who gave her a lifetime of joys
He was like no man she’d met before
With her six girls she was loving but strict
A true German through and through
They’d sneak out, have their fun,
But she couldn’t be tricked,
And they thought she never knew
Christmas Day was her favorite time
She created the ribbon tied boxes
She’s the reason we celebrate, gather and rhyme
The inventor of Christmas at the Knox’s.
Next, the woman of many locations
Across the globe she flew
A girl of action, of several vocations
Surfer and Stylist to name a few
She’d fit in as much as the day would permit
Her adventures were never done
And when I’d ask her how she does it
She’d respond, “Darling, I always have fun”
She brought people together, it was her gift
Each friend in her life essential
Secretly matchmaking, she was sly and swift
She made us all feel uniquely special
From camo to pearls, she’d transform with ease
You could never quite pin her down
If you’d sneeze in your hand or forget to say please
Ms. Manners would scold with a frown
Blonde and beautiful, from the crowd she stood apart
She had gumption and charm to spare
Cool, charismatic, and a great big heart
There are few as wonderful as Claire.
Margie loved it when she came and stayed
She watched her as she grew
In those summers a unique connection was made
She taught her everything she knew
Each Christmas they’d prepare, hang lights by the dozens
The reindeer perched on the shelf
They’d ready the basement for the guests and cousins
Mrs. Clause and her little elf
They were true kindred spirits, together ‘till the end
And now as they watch from above
Each happy moment is a message they’ve sent
Of their everlasting protection and love
And though they are here no longer
Know that they live on within you
With each day their legacy grows stronger
And the power of love will continue
December 25, 2016
Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine
Meltin' in a pot of thieves
Wild card up my sleeve
Thick heart of stone
My sins my own
They belong to me, me
People say "beware!"
But I don't care
The words are just
Rules and regulations to me, me
'Gloria' by Patti Smith
“I believe that we, that this planet, hasn't seen its Golden Age. Everybody says its finished ... art's finished, rock and roll is dead, God is dead. Fuck that! This is my chance in the world. I didn't live back there in Mesopotamia, I wasn't there in the Garden of Eden, I wasn't there with Emperor Han, I'm right here right now and I want now to be the Golden Age ...if only each generation would realise that the time for greatness is right now when they're alive ... the time to flower is now.”
― Patti Smith
The inheritance and womanhood in a family
The traits, the gifts, the thoughts, the love that is passed down
The hips, the lips, the shoes, the walk
Crafting, creating, cultivating the history of the world
Knox is my name, Moody is the other, our passing through space and time
Has many layers, depth in this Earth, rays in the sky, brightness in the stars