#7 by Melissa Laree Cunningham


a model of the universe
a nocturne written in minor key
a riverside opening
a breaking from the thing you know
a swelling up and letting go
a jazz refrain
an ending, a beginning
a beginning, and an ending
a blues chord on repeat
a mixtape
a morning drive through fields of cotton
a pie pulled from the oven
a watching from the distance
i root for you
i root

#6 by Melissa Laree Cunningham


Darkdarkdark, 2.19.2019

I missed a deadline for a friend’s project yesterday involving images and writing revolving around the ritual of getting dressed. Concurrently I missed the deadline that I gave myself to share one work a day that is relevant either in execution, creation, or resolution. It has also been several days since I last meditated, and I am missing my counseling appointment tomorrow since I’ll be traveling down to Austin. Maybe all of this syncs together. Maybe not.

#5 by Melissa Laree Cunningham

Two works in one day. Two stories.
1. I’m preparing for a small May show in Houston of my series Chasing Home and enduring the growing pains of cleaning negatives, rescanning, printing over and over again until the dimensions are right. The work this morning was frustrating, with a waste of five sheets printed with a border before understanding the technical limitations of borderless printing on an Epson P800.

2. My daughter and I made it over to the garden that I put in before our November move and harvested the monster collards, tiny carrots, and found one dried sunflower seed head (which we’ll plant in a couple months). She scrubbed a handful of ruby carrots and ate them right away. I had all but given this space up. To discover a few thriving, fat plants gave me some sort of well of hope. In between the two stories, I dug-in round 2 of a front yard garden and planted seed potatoes and onions. The hope continues.

That these two images can sit side by side is a testimony to how I am trying to find a way to marry these two worlds in me. Instead of pushing away all things from a past life, pull together the deep wells of whatever-is-there that I haven’t dealt with. Claim them, give them light, make new art, make new life.


#4 by Melissa Laree Cunningham


Today I dig, with one shovel, a garden in the front yard. Maybe a call to a deeper self, maybe there are one thousand and one meanings in this act. But it’s an act of creation nonetheless. Yesterday I watched a short video while going through week one in the online practices in MBSR meditation through Palouse Mindfulness. Shauna Shapiro spoke of phrase she heard from a British monk years ago, maybe decades: “what you practice grows stronger.”

The idea that intentional and unintentional practice both have the same effect. By choosing a void instead of creation, a mindlessness of passing time instead a growth in anything positive, I grow the void, the passing of time without meaning. So today I started a garden, and now my back aches. I cleaned the tiny nook which I dub my “studio” in the upstairs bedroom in preparation for a large round of scanning and printing and framing I’ll do soon for a small show in May. Today I made bread. I cooked dinner and laid it out for my family on the backyard tables. Yesterday I helped my daughter start a 3 dimensional solar system project. If my practice is to be mindful, create every day, be honest in this, then the past twenty-fours have been the most creation-filled.

#3 by Melissa Laree Cunningham

Hang On, Hang On

I loved a tall, lean man
with ropes for hands
bone-white teeth in a smile as deep as night,
heart wild, but tamed.

His hands would span
the width of me,
a whispered supplication at my breast
the water’s edge soft creeping.

What stillness there, and there
I do not dream without that voice;
what notes and soft, soft quiet air inside of me.
I am ragged too, but hope for rest.

Here’s a banjo, lay me down,
calling across the span of space and time,
my tall, lean, man stayed home, called love,
stayed home.


#2 by Melissa Laree Cunningham


Upon finding the bowl of blueberries pilfered through by her friends; then ten, maybe fifteen, minutes later a food fight with same friends and their brother (off camera), reigning down what is left of the blueberries. The wild ride of emotion at year seven, very close to mine at year thirty-three (sorry Mama).

#1 by Melissa Laree Cunningham


At home before sunset last night.

This marks the beginning of the self-imposed personal practice to intentionally create and share one creative work a day for the next year in tandem with starting a new daily meditation practice (already imperfectly) and the upcoming transition to go back to school and recenter my goals/work during a centering of self.