Tears

31.5 in. x 31.25 in.
Mixed media:paint, carving, cloth, wire mesh on a wooden pallet top
©Maureen Kelleher 2009
Detail image with engraved text. Back to gallery 2

Engraved and printed text on the work:

The Story In the Piece:

So there was Jesse Jackson — tears tears tears — in the Harlem crowd. Everybody so thrilled for the next president of the United States. Then they cut to Oprah. More tears in Grant Park. Me and my sweetie: on the sofa with our tears, too. All choked up in New Jersey. I'm tired. Excited. Oh my god. Unbelievable.

I think about Edward. He had two tears tatooed at the bottom of his left eye. I never asked him if they stood for two he had killed. Didn’t matter; he couldn’t move or feel from the neck down. i didn’t need any explanation of something so small, in the midst of massive sadness in the body of a twenty-something man.

Edward always had my love, as much as I could give him inside the lines of appropriate. He looked really good that morning he testified. Hair cut, shaved, spiffy. His personal care assistant was a kind man who came extra early to get him ready.

I had arranged the ambulance to transport him; the EMT’s were great. Me and his sister met them at the courthouse.

I was proud of Edward. He took about 5 minutes to testify. I stood in the back of the courtroom, then pushed him to the ambulance waiting in the courthouse basement.

Then back to Desire, his special medical air mattress, the non-stop blaring tv at the foot of the bed, the phone he operated with his mouth.

He could see out the window if his sister wheeled the bed around. Right by the window, second story, Alvar St driveway. No air conditioning — ironic, as I looked for the ‘ice cold storage’ sign across the street to know which driveway was his.

So Edward testified for Terrance, an ex-Marine, who he had never met a day in his young bad boy life. He couldn’t walk, but he could talk, and talk he did. He put the lie to Connick Sr’s office’s attempt to send 4 they-weren’t-even-there black males to prison, lock ‘em up and throw away the key style.

Edward is probably dead now; quadriplegics don’t usually live to old age.

Is there someone out there with a teardrop tattoo under his eye for Edward? Did his delayed, anti-climatic, bedridden life and death measure up and morph into a teardrop trophy according to the rules of the thug’s life?

It doesn’t matter; I have a place for him in my heart’s memory. And Jesse Jackson’s got him covered, too.

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