Monday, February 1, 2016

Heart Poem and Illustration For Valentine's Day

I will be 47 years old Superbowl Sunday, but parts of me will only be 3 or 5 years old, depending on which of my surgeons you confer with. Blade Runner and The Terminator are less science fiction movies that documentaries to me these days, and it is fair to say having alien technology inside your body does change not only your physiognomy but your psychology and mentality in certain ways, sometimes ways one isn't even aware of for many years. It also effects those close to you. For instance, my heart clicks. Like a clock. You might wonder how long it takes to tune that phenomenon out of your daily existence, or if it just wears on one in eventually maddening ways like Chinese water torture or Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." The answer is both. For the first several weeks, even months after artificial valve surgery, your heart feels like it is going to pound out of your chest. Most of this is probably attributable to the sound. Typically one probably wouldn't be aware of the beating of one's heart, but being able to hear each beat makes it unignorable. 

Heart poem by Thomas L. Vaultonburg, illustrated by Jenny Mathews of Rockford Illustrating

I am torn between writing more about what it's like to go through open-heart surgery and have artificial parts surgically implanted inside one's body, and the lasting changes that makes in one's life, or just writing about what it's like to collaborate with an artist like Jenny Mathews. Mostly I'm just happy to wake up day after day and see she has drawn something new. In this case I am also happy to be able to collaborate in the process. Eventually I may write more about the ongoing process of becoming a cyborg, but for the most part I just find myself grateful and happy to be alive.

If you'd like to see new work from my life and creative partner Jenny Mathews almost every day, follow her Instagram. Go ahead and like a bunch of things there and maybe buy some of her art so she'll make me chicken wings this Sunday. Please Pinterest or share our work if you find it meaningful. 

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