art


i’m drinking a tangerine Italian soda at 11:20 at night. the apartment is messier than usual. it doesn’t matter. there’s no good enough reason to be motivated to mind. it’s been one of those days. it’s gloomy out. nothing better to do than create things. supplies scattered around everywhere. computers. books. papers. i live here. fully live here. nobody is in my way. but i kind of wish there was.

there are those who would have you believe that doing this sort of thing makes you selfish. selfish to spend so much time on art, like you’re so important. selfish to write about yourself. no, selfish to not be writing about somebody else. talking about somebody else. existing as if you value everything else more so than what is inside you.

as if every other activity out there isn’t selfish. as if watching tv isn’t selfish. the person who assigns worth to something is yourself. the person who decides something isn’t worthy is you. but it feels like it’s everyone else who decides. decides that their meaningless and half-assed pursuits are somehow okay but yours isn’t.

am i supposed to just let the ideas die? what happened to the life of the mind. i literally have nothing better to do. i could make more money and work myself to death but i already have one job and i like it. i just don’t watch tv. i don’t want to. it’s boring. there i said it. it’s fucking boring. except when there’s company. when there’s company, it’s entertaining and enjoyable. that’s how i feel about it. maybe if i really loved alone time with my tv, i’d be too busy for art. it’s practically sacrilegious to say that out loud. i wouldn’t want tv gone forever. it’s just not what every person who exists on this planet is here to do with their time.

making art is not selfish and self-centered just by default. art is for others. as much as for the self, maybe more so. art is made with audience in mind. with communication in mind, however abstract. i use myself but i am not writing to me. I am writing to them. i am writing to you. i am writing for you. when i write, it is you i am thinking of. art is made because humanity desires it. humanity needs it. but i fail. like anyone i fail. so i keep doing it. i show up to fail. i hope the next time i will get it right. it takes a lifetime. but that’s okay. art is made to make the world a better place. a richer, more beautiful and more honest place. imagine a world entirely devoid of art. seriously.

you can be a megalomanic doing any sort of occupation in life. not just art. look at the world’s wealthiest people and how we admire them and excuse their flaws. and then look at poets. it’s REALLY damn hard to be an egotistical poet. maybe for a short time, but it likely wouldn’t be sustainable. poetry is humbling. nobody cares, at least in real life. “nobody” as in, society at large. in most cases it doesn’t pay because the world does not respect you enough to think that you deserve it. it’s even harder to please a crowd than in music, or visual art also. but these are all tricky occupations. you do it because you want to and you feel it is needed. you need it. others need it too and you know it. even if it doesn’t always seem like it, others need it.

you show up as your inadequate self. you may never quite match that pre-filled idea that someone else hopes, and you are passed up for better investments. you are rejected over and over, and in so many nuanced ways. and you show up.

you know that the rest sucks even more. the alternative fucking sucks. so you get up and you start again.






The House of Mystery

“They took her baby away.”

He told me “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” was about an acquaintance of Leonard Cohen’s; an early hippie who was the daughter of someone important. “And she went crazy.”

“She was from an important family, her father was a senator or something like that. I think they didn’t want her to be the daughter who had an illegitimate child. They took her baby away, and she killed herself. She was in hospitals, and she blew her brains out.”

-“That’s horrific,” I said.

“The mental hospital, that’s the ‘house of mystery’ I think.”

-“Hm. Well I think the reason it’s so relatable, is because we all have that place, inside of ourselves. A house of mystery.”

“A place that no one wants to visit?”

-“Yeah.

-But artists do. Art visits. That’s what artists are good for. That’s why people like Leonard Cohen are important. That’s why art is important.”

Everyone loves Nancy now.

Everyone cries for her. Now we understand, Nancy

And we are sorry.

Two Thoughts On Writing Love Poetry

  1. If love is not important enough a topic for important poetry, then I just don’t care. (And if poetry can be that arrogant, then we’ve really lost the plot).

  2. No, I don’t write on love “for women” as someone suggested. Love is not a women’s problem.

    And do we think that men don’t love?

    And did anyone ever posit that a man’s poems were “for men,” even in times one might argue they were?




Advice for a Power of One, Unclaimed

UNSOLICITED
UNAPOLOGETIC
PLEASANTLY DIDACTIC
SO FUCKING TRUE

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Judgment originates in the self.

If the group comes first, the self has final say.

Judgment is less intelligent than fresh observation.

Judgment is dysfuntional tradition.

Judgment is pretention.

Judgment brings justice sometimes. But not peace.

Judgment brings injustice too.

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Judgment is natural; it feels like survival.

Judgment feels relevant and righteous.

Side effects could bring a sickening feeling.

When encountering judgment, try to be patient.

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Judgment isn’t the same as discernment.

A common mistake, to confuse them.

But discernment too is troubled.

And if we are honest,

Troubling.

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Somehow, we already know everything.

In the wiser lessons of history, philosophy.

Science, poetry, psychology.

Yet perhaps we still long for different answers.

It’s strange but doubt yourself first, to be great.

Observe the thought first, to think.

Assumptions without inquiry proliferate quickly.

A false foundation that frees no truth.

To seek confirmation, in reflection: caution.

Trouble brews in demands to be echoed.

It’s strange, but doubt convention.

It’s not always flattering.

We choose the opposing action.

Truth beyond self, beyond judgment is too tiring.

Hard-won ideologies hardened our hearts.

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Experience offers a speck of “understanding.”

But experience too is misleading.

A wise idea says, do not reject the self, to please.

But perhaps the wiser: remember

Self is not so distant

From others.

Others have judged you too.

Others judge you.

You are no better than a half-baked idea.

Let us not forget. Go now

Beyond self, beyond power of one, to relate.

Look back perhaps to tradition, on this point.

Beware passive consumption of a person.

Relationship is not an expectation.

An extension of you.

Or even a passion. That’s all yours.

Passion is all yours.

Speech

Something worth saying

Is challenging.

Sometimes controversial,

Even polarizing.

But not everything controversial

Is worthy.

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Don’t say “everybody,” “all,” “nobody,” “never.”

Don’t say “everything.” Just think it.

Don’t say “always.” Just hope for it.

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Beware of judgment passing for wisdom.

Listening is the most radical opinion.

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