essays by shé

Burn Baby Burn

In preparation for leaving the island, I burned a box of my art. It had served its purpose: expression, joy, distraction. I am keeping the pieces I love, but where will I ship them? Where will they hang? Transitions. Man.

Irritated by rampant tailgaters, I flipped one off a few days ago. Instead of backing off or passing me, he chased me for miles. When we stopped at a one-lane bridge, he got out of his truck. I rolled up the windows, locked the doors, and drove off before he reached me. Perhaps I’ll try the peace sign next time.

I also got into it with my neighbors recently when my bathroom flooded. I quickly diverted the river in the back yard toward the fence line: the most direct route. They weren’t happy — protecting a concrete pour — so I dug a longer trench (in the pouring rain) in a different direction. Even so, one of them commenced to yelling while I was on the phone to the landlord. Yelling instead of helping? I was using a spoon, for chrisakes, drenched and muddy, desperate to keep the water out of my studio.

“Do you have a problem?” yelled the tailgater. Yes. The ocean is filthy because of overflowing cesspools and septic systems. The neighbors are in love with power tools, heavy machinery, and alcohol. Folks dump vehicles and trash in the most of gorgeous places. Tourism is at an all-time high, with the attendant traffic snarls and astonishing attitudes.

So Kaua’i is helping me go. It’s a small island. Obviously, I need more space.

Burn Baby Burn by Shé, 12″ x 12″ acrylic on canvas, 2022





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