louise buckley

Self Portrait in Kitchen, 2020
artist statement

I take tender care of my fish Coltrane. He’s the perfect shade of blue and lives in the waves next to the speakers.

I make sure to feed him every day - just once, but I’ve been told it’s enough for him. As soon as I wake up I plop five fish food flakes in the tank for Coltrane. SPLASH. I watch to make sure he eats them all. SMACK. I can hear him smacking his little cobalt lips, announcing that he’s full. Satisfied.

I turn on some music and stare at Coltrane, making sure he doesn’t get lonely. The music whirls and twirls and he stares back as he dances, waves.

The song has fizzled out and Coltrane doesn’t move soon I’ll jump up and zip over to the tank. It’s the most action in this apartment all week. He can’t die yet. Not Coltrane.

I lay on the floor

Silent and still

No music is playing as I float towards the top of my own tank. I can’t let him see me like this

I feed myself like I feed Coltrane, one meal a day. I’m not full, but I am satisfied. I know he would jump up and check on me if he could

Coltrane keeps me company on the day I  peel myself off the floor. He turns on some music. It’s slow and heavy, or maybe I am. On three - - - I begin the measured dance I’ve practiced in my head

Arms bend and press up

My stomach grazes the floor

I’m on my knees, halfway there

I crawl over to the table and grab onto its legs for support. I pull myself up with comic book strength. My mission is to tend to myself as if I were Coltrane

I walk into the kitchen repeating

You can do it You can do it You can do it

I believe in the power of words

But sometimes it’s exhausting.

website: louisebuckley.com ig: @louisefromschool