You read a novel that changes your life. The trains, the rails, the sound of the silence and darkness of life when it sticks for long enough for us to imagine it into words onto page. Sit and ramble with it for hours. The harsh low-life degraded pavements of England turn you into figures you remember seeing on the BBC when you stayed home fake-sick all those horrible school-girl days sneaked under the blanket your grandmother crocheted. You tell your university professor upon demand analysis--your stark faced classmates--that, surely, potatoes are a metaphor for poverty. When they laugh, you decide to never eat boiled potatoes again. Later, when you discover that he's suffered from a busted gut and has to stay in the hospital indefinitely, you send him a handmade preschool-potato-print get well card. You wonder whether you're an awful person. But not much.

To make a potato print you need:

a potato
thick paint
a large knife
a small craft knife

Cut the potato in half with the large knife. With the small craft knife, cut the shape that you want from one end of the fleshy side of the potato. Simple shapes work best. A heart. A star. Block lettering. If you use patience, you can create any design you desire. Cut away the potato approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep around the outline you have made. Blot the excess moisture of the potato onto a paper towel. Dip the potato stamp into the paint. Press the stamp onto any paper surface you wish to make a print. Dip the potato back into the paint before each print to keep the color crisp and bright.

Those Eye I Aye Dirt Flesh days when I was something less than happy. My secret collection of personal potato mashers. Kept stored and safe in the lowest kitchen cupboard. I took them out on strange tired nights alone. Watched their silvery patterned powers glint between refractions of buzzing fluorescent lamps and linoleum. I remember they never made much of me. And I. Never made much of them.

To mash is to reduce something to a soft pulpy state by beating or pressure.

I sit awake in the early morning air of this room. Our room. The air of the house that is our space that is our home. The silence palpable on my tongue like warm buttered mashed potatoes. I watch the twist of your spine. Your fistfuls of bedsheets. Dream-wake thoughts of thick tempra paints and exacto knifes. The constant noise from the other world below the window. And all my moments slowly reduce to this. Pulpy and slow-lidded, I slide back to sleep where we are. Hold quicksand still to the quietness of the new way words like beating and pressure fill the starkness of a too once long dark room.


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