Just Being with Anthea Hamilton’s The Squash
A vision with a gourd head was dancing in the halls of empire made from sugar
Wearing a white ruffled poet’s blouse and golden bell bottoms, floating on the terrazzo,
itself a mouth
a giant dry shower
The man I met in the elevator asks me,
“Is this art?”
It was at least a test of endurance
Eight hours per day is an invitation to something not known until it’s over
Was this for us? How were we supposed to receive it?
From our corner we watched camera phones flattening like capturing butterflies
#thesquash #antheahamilton #tatebritain #London
The figure took me elsewhere
Languid, The Squash came over and slid down
I offered them water but they wanted to touch index fingers
with the man I met in the elevator
Was he now my friend?
I watched as they gazed and touched and fell into each other at this tea party
“This is art,” the man said
Our cheeks were full of heart, our eyes pooling together, our heads grew
The next day I trekked from Willesden Junction to see The Squash again
The rest of London was working men eating cake in public
Was this Squash the same Squash?
This Squash wore a different outfit: a striped black leather and black suede gourd head, a
black leather shirt with balloon-like epaulets, black and white striped high-waisted
leggings, a badger Freddie Mercury
This Squash sauntered past the paparazzi, towards me and slid down
I tried to hand The Squash water but they just wanted to hold my hand
Their black elbow length leather gloves mingled with my flesh
We did that we held hands for a long time at first I was nervous
It was the first hand I held like that in over a year, maybe ever
I looked over and into their black mesh eyes, trying for through
The Squash took their gourd head off and became a boy of sorts
with creamy skin and orange hair
He started talking to me
He told me he was the same Squash as yesterday
Wasn’t yesterday amazing?
Someone with a camera came over and took a picture
He was The Squash for many days and today was his last
He was going to some part of England that has a beach, did he say Cornwall?
I gave him the stone I kept in my pocket
Rub this anytime you’re stressed
The Squash labours in revelry and possibility
The possibility to grow beyond your prescription
To push your vines past your plot
To leave your prison after you enter it
Sailor Holladay is a high school teacher, writer, and textile artist living in Oregon on unceded Kalapuya land. Sailor was a LAMBDA Fellow in 2012 and holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Mills College.
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