Saturday, April 29, 2006

Peace, love, and the painted porch

Artwork (c) Singleton 2006

Through my eyes....

First of all, it didn’t start out a porch. Or a patio. Or anything close to the great outdoors. It was a 1950’s carport. I first pulled in under it’s protective roof in 1995 and immediately banged my shiney red car doors on the columns . My first car ever was a green and green 1957 Chevy and I was sure it was much bigger than Adam’s Apple, my candy red Grand Am. Why in the heck were these columns so close together? I knew instinctively, “this will never work”. Adam’s Apple was left to scorch in the sun .

Aesthetically, it was pathetic. The concrete floor was puddled with oil stains and thick with psoriatic peeling paint. But it was instantly, the entrance to my house. My kitchen door lived here. My driveway ended here. This was my new old house. And this was the way I wanted in. I stared at it.

For a long time.

And then I spent days on my knees, scraping the veneer of old paint off the floor, and intricately painting oriental rug designs on the concrete. Wallah! It’s a patio! Tacky, and hot as hell, I was still determined to make it a welcomed place. I parked a few chairs out there, a hanging plant, and directed visitors to ENTER here.

And they did.

Because I asked them to.

Over the years, the floor was leveled, the bottom was bricked in, the windows to the world were screened. A door that squeaks like a Halloween sound track was hung, wind chimes were dangled and strung, and placed meticulously anywhere there was a breeze. The mosquitoes were banned, the lizards never took their eviction seriously and have squatter’s rights to their original domain. The columns and walls were painted. Not to match the house. Not to match the landscape. To match my world.

The furniture is painted. The doors are painted. The kitchen window is painted. Graffiti is everywhere. The words, the moments, the memories are cradled forever in a psychedelic surround-sound-style mural that engulfs the entire porch. From the street, the view is probably somewhat obnoxious. An architectural wreck piled up against the little pink and white “grandma’s house”. From under the fan, parked in my pajamas, watching the sun come up, it is home. My children grew up here…their accomplishments and passages embedded in the walls. My grandchildren scribble here. You are allowed to paint on the walls at Mimi’s house. My friends etch their presence here, autograph my life with their thoughts and takes on our world. Hurricanes are recorded here, soldiers are immortalized here. The painted porch is my welcome sign.

Anytime the light is on.


eric313 said...

I love this "natural history of the back porch". Makes me think of parties and poetry spoken until the wee hours grow up in the coming daylight.

Your every line is so well crafted, Singleton. Your narrative voice is superb.

What a lady!

singleton said...

eric....the light is always on....