Love Me Tender

Love Me Tender

 artwork  by Jared Buckhiester  

written by  Charity Coleman

Untitled (house), 26 x 22 inches, ink on paper

Heart & Horror

A response to Jared Buckhiester’s work

My fish friend on the island falls asleep at night clutching ocean stones

in his fists: the heart-line breaks and veers

wending that tender path between reckoning and release...

He writes to me from underwater: 

I think it’s helping. I can almost breathe again.

I reply: If you were my pet or patient

and not a sovereign creature

I’d put you on a drip

of lion’s mane and astragalus

I’d steep you in baths of holy basil—

Heartache is a kind of infirmity after all.


How is a body altered by longing? We apprehend the rigid form at attention, or a

fraught collision of defense and desire––but what does soft male yearning look like?

Friendship. Melancholy in suburban shadows. An empty house in some godforsaken

neighborhood crawling with predators. The kittens are teenage boys in repose; as men,

they are keepers of doom. The interim: metamorphosis and mundanity. In the school

yearbook they write, Don’t ever change! and I’ll never forget you! But time happens to

us. We might become unmoored by loss. Remembrance is love’s bedfellow, for better or

worse. The only antidote is anonymity, but you are you and you keep breathing.

Jared Buckhiester’s work sustains suspense like a horror film. Erotics and peril share a

narrative arc, troubling the notion of safe space. Instead of a lock of hair or a light kiss

on the back of a hand, lovers exchange the seepage of war: the language of aeons.

When we speak highly of something, we call it timeless, but we are fettered by our

pasts, our exes, our lifelong dance of severance and union. We don a costume, perhaps a

uniform, and shift shapes. We make contact and lose touch. It’s as elusive as trying to

photograph transgression or a haunting.

In love, we wear a body. In mourning, a shroud. For some occasions: a mask or armor.

Love asks us to exalt, to undress, to disarm. We enact physical transformation when we

love––mirroring death & rebirth. If you gaze into the dark mirror and say Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary Bloody Mary, you will see the face of the one you will love. You will see

the faces of your past lives. You will get scared, and turn on the light.

We hold stones in our fists so that we might feel anchored again.

We heal so that we may love again, and again be loved.

~ Charity Coleman~


Squadron Of Twelve Position 3B, Squad D Position F, both watercolor on paper

July 4th 11:10AM, 23.5 x 28 inches, ink watercolor and gouache on paper

Zapata, 32 x 10.5 x 7.5 inches, porcelain with underglaze and glazed red stoneware

Caregiver Caretaker, 18 x 23 inches, graphite and ink on paper, 2006

July 4th 9:15AM, 24 x 16 inches, ink on paper

Untitled, 49.5 x 38 inches, watercolor on paper with cotton t-shirt

Sweet Disorder

Sweet Disorder

I sing the body electric

I sing the body electric