Dear Muse, I thought We Had A Date Tonight (Poem)

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I’ve been waiting a long time.

I ordered dinner and drink and

had too much of both.

Now I am overfed and undernourished.

Without you.

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I’ve been sitting at my desk

with my pen and notebook and

you’ve not dropped me a single

line, nor image, nor concept.

What gives?

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I am drowsy, weak without your light.

Life is a black ball clogging my soul.

My sighs are rancid dissappointments.

Dear muse, I have done my job.

Why have you not done yours?

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

Now I’ve got a bad, bad headache,

I’m itchy & my clothes don’t fit right.

The earth turns senseless. After all,

what purpose in life if not to create?

Dear muse, I thought we had a date tonight.

Three New Paintings: “Waiting For the Other Shoe to Drop” & Others

Here are three new paintings created by yours truly.

Some people dabble in surrealism, some Dada or cubism, others cartoons. Me? I dabble in what I call ‘absurdism’. So without further ado, here are three new absurdist paintings. All are acrylics. Enjoy!

Title: “Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop”.

Waiting For the Other Shoe to Drop - Tylor James

 

 

Title: “Bob.”

Bob - Tylor James

 

 

Title: “DOOMED.”

Doomed - Tylor James

 

As Artists…

The following is a piece written specifically for my column, The Artist’s Corner, featured in the New Richmond News.

As Artists…

As artists, we must always have ‘yes’ in our hearts. That is the only way we may behold the world with a sufficient depth of vision. It is this vision of the world which translates best onto paper, canvas, film, or stage. If our eyes are shut and we are blind to the world, then our creative work, too, will be blind. An artist is most productive when she views life with an attitude of receptivity and openness.

This isn’t to say an artist must say ‘yes’ all the time to everything. Artists must also be capable of saying a firm ‘no’ a lot of the time, too. We must say no to close-mindedness, no to destruction, and no to convention. These things – close mindedness, destruction and convention – are not the elements which make an artist. They are the elements which make monsters. As artists, we must champion open mindedness, creation, and beauty.

All creative works are composites of form. Form is synonymous with beauty. Out of the chaos of our minds, we construct forms of beauty. As artists, we must accept chaos as an essential ingredient for all true, creative work. It is chaos which makes us human and not machines. It is chaos which makes art possible. We must accept chaos whether or not chaos accepts us.

As artists, we must practice acceptance. We must accept that it is okay to be afraid of not creating something wonderful or powerful. It is okay to be afraid of writers or painter’s block. It is okay to be afraid of not being productive or inspired. We must accept our fears and get down to work regardless!

If you are a writer, try accepting the idea of not coming up with any interesting stories. Give yourself permission to write complete junk. Then apply pen to paper and simply write. You may write about anything, so long as you are writing. That the practice is continued is the most important thing. If you are a painter, accept the idea that this painting might not be your masterpiece. Give yourself permission to play, to goof around. Sever all expectations about your work and don’t quit. You might be surprised when your playing around turns into something fantastic. Even if it doesn’t turn into something fantastic, you will have had no expectation that it should.

As artists, we must find our own place. A painter must have a place for his easel, a writer must have place to sit, and a musician must have a place to practice. Quiet solitude suits many artists just fine while they are working. Other artists like to work in noisy, crowded environments because they find it stimulating. As artists, it is of necessity that we find out what works best for us.

As artists, we must never quit. We must always continue on with our art. The health and livelihood of our very being depends upon it. As artists, we should never pretend not to be artists. We were born to create and we have to respect that. As artists, we should give ourselves time and permission to do what we were born to do…

Dear reader, I want to thank you for reading this week’s column! I will now sign off with our creative quotation for the week, this one from the writer, Mary Oliver: “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

Ponderings on Art, Responsibility, Identity, Virtue, and Tragedy.

The Weight of the World

If not for a word, there

Would be no book, no language.

If not for an atom, there

Would be no world, no universe.

If not for a decision, there

Would be no free will, no choice.

If not for a vote, there

Would be no democracy, no republic.

Our decisions and actions matter.

They effect our lives,

They effect our world

In myriad ways,

seen and unseen.

Whatever you do

carries the weight

of the world.

Take firm hold of your responsibility

As a human being with some

Influence upon this planet.

Fear not to care,

And do not shrug.

 

***

Even a faraway galaxy is local if you’re living there.

*

The virtue of tragedy is empathy; compassion.

*

My identity is not in any sense fixed. It is like a spilled fluid amongst broken glass. My psyche is only reflected in jagged shards – shards which can be rearranged and re-glued together into whatever form my imagination deems feasible. For better or worse, I am the maker of myself.

*

I have a reverence for everything useless. The tasks of bare survival – to include hunting for food, taking shelter, and reproducing are essential activities – but they are also weary and base. What I champion are those extraneous genes responsible for humankind’s motives to paint on cave walls, vocalize sounds into recognizable melodies, and construct sacred temples. I champion all superfluous culture, all art, all creative expression, all abstractions! It is these things, after all, which truly separate us human mammals from the non-human ones.

*

All hail the first ape whom thought to shave!

*

The moments wherein one feels he or she has digested the world are rare moments indeed. They should be enjoyed for the fine illusions that they are. Yet in truth, ignorance is the sea in which we all swim. It is only that a human being feels particularly fine when he or she has reached the highest peak of a wave and can at last see, for a moment, the vast expanse of all the other waves upon this infinite ocean of mystery…

*

Art and Soul

A true artist sells his soul.

The commercial artist sells a product – one which is often superficial, impersonal, and/or otherwise utterly lacking in soul. Within every Van Gough painting or Beethoven symphony there can be found a portion of the artist’s emotional identity. Art produced solely for mass consumption, by its very nature, contains nothing personal. Arguably, artists whom never give away anything personal are not artists at all. This is why art is often a dangerous and daring activity– it requires us to be vulnerable enough to share ourselves, often our most sensitive and creative selves, with potentially the entire world.

***

The Pledge of Allegiance (Revisited)

I pledge allegiance

To the symbolic fabric

Of the divided states

Of Corporate Amnesia.

To the Plutocracy

For which it stands

One Delusion

Under an invisible man in the sky,

With Stupidity

And Ignorance for all.

***

“No Regrets”

I know I am a good human being not just intuitively, but based upon the evidence of my guilt and how frequently I experience it. Virtuous men are always ones with marked consciences, whereas “evil” men are utterly lacking of it. Guilt and conscience go hand in hand. Which leads me to think that the contemporary expression, “No regrets!” is an obvious denying of inner guilt and remorse. It is either this or they have no conscience at all, and are rather proudly exclaiming their sociopathic disposition. One can’t count on less than two hands how many times a drunken man at a bar has slurred out, “I’ve got nooo regrets!” all the while drowning in self-denial, aided by cheap liquor. As I’ve stated in a previous article, “a man without a regret is a man without a moral.”

I was in a coffee shop the other day and observed a young woman with “No Regrets” tattooed on her forearm. How inspired by a bad conscience must one be in order to have these words permanently inked on their body? Now her regret is for all to see. The tattoo doesn’t hide the inner guilt or remorse – it only plainly reveals, makes conspicuous. I felt bad for the woman. And, of course, discussing with her the stupidity of the tattoo could only incite dismay and rage, as she is already fully committed to what the tattoo communicates about her – no regrets.

***

 

Introducing: The Artist’s Corner

I am currently a bi-monthly column contributor to my city’s newspaper, the New Richmond News. The name of my column is, The Artist’s Corner. Each column presents some of my personal reflections on art, creativity, etc. and an up-close featured local artist.

Here are a few of the first three columns to get you going…

 

Artist’s Corner #1: All Art is Local & Josie Coen

Gregarious greetings! Welcome to The Artist’s Corner. Herein you will learn about interesting happenings in the local art world — and it’s a delightfully alive world at that. Our city underground is populated with writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, on and on into ad infinitum. Did you know that? Well, if the answer is ‘not really’, here is my hope that this column may inform, entertain and inspire you! Well, first thing is first – the thought of the day, courtesy of your ever deranged, local creative:

All Art is Local.

It is the responsibility of the average citizen, that microscopic specimen which composes the nation, like a particle to an atom, to keep art alive.

It is often said that all politics is local, and so it is. Likewise with all education, culture, religion, etc. If the United States of America is a living body, it is the people whom make up its vital parts: the legs, feet, arms, hands, torso, and head. If any of these conglomerations of the people should become afflicted with bouts of apathy and shirk their cultural duties, the bodily health of the country shall suffer, as if from disease.

We must, at a local level, continue to support the funding of music and art classes within our public schools if we are to expect a future nation truly appreciative of creative expression and the arts. We must find ourselves resolute to live and breathe the arts within our own daily lives, just as a citizen may read this newspaper and upon discerning the information, cast his or her vote in an upcoming election. In short, all art is local!

Speaking of local art, I believe it’s time for this week’s…

** ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT **

Today we are meeting with artist Josie Coen, a photographer. Josie lives a mere stone’s throw from our fair city and specializes in macrophotography (pictures of people or things skillfully taken from an extremely up-close perspective). She kindly invited me to her home and allowed me a peek at some of her work. Immediately, I noticed her photographs tend to communicate a vision not commonly apprehended by the average sight-seer. Her photographs of delightfully vibrant orchids, dangerously beautiful purple thistles, a bumblebee hunkered down collecting nectar, the in-depth intricacies of a tree trunk, and other assortments of diverse natural wonders reveal to us mysterious worlds which are always here and yet rarely ever witnessed.

Josie’s incredible pictures of real things in nature make us stop and ponder if what we are seeing is in fact, real. I highly recommend everyone go and experience Josie’s macro-photographs for themselves. One may have a chance to do so on September 7th at Amery Ale Works in Amery, WI, from 7 to 10 PM. This will be a creative extravaganza, as there will be three whole floors dedicated to art. Josie’s pictures will be on the first level, writers and poets will read aloud their writings on another, and finally a painter will be showcasing his work on the top floor. You certainly won’t want to miss this Artful Evening!

My dear fellow citizens of New Richmond, I hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s column and shall leave you with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut, which I hope inspires you to pick up a pen, brush, camera, or whatever the creative medium may be:

“Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

Thistle

 

Artist’s Corner #2: The Artist Within & Steve Mireau

Hello to all and sundry! Welcome to your city newspaper’s most unconventional column, courtesy of yours truly. Did you know the most beautiful thing about being an artist is that anyone can be one?

No, I’m not lying! There are approximately 360,000 people born into this world every day; every one of them is born an artist. You may recall that when we were young we always drew pictures, made up stories, and created whole marvelous worlds out of the fabric of our own imaginations, often within the comforts of our own back yards. Only instead of calling it ‘art’, we called it, ‘play’.

Society, for whatever reasons, has a nasty habit of killing off the artist not long after he or she emerges from the confines of the crib. Our culture instills within us an adaption to one particular way of life, which desensitizes us to nearly everything. We get so caught up in the complicated web of our worldly humdrum that we forget to appreciate the little things, such as a pretty sunbeam on the carpet, a flower, or even a PB & J sandwich. This process of desensitizing is undoubtedly a blow to the creative instincts. For if life is perceived as merely average and mundane, what reason is there to be an artist? What could there possibly be to express?

Yet if human beings were to open their minds to a slightly expanded degree, they would realize that our existence is mysterious, wondrous and beautifully absurd. A child does not need to be told these things. It is only we adults whom could use the reminder now and then. For a child is always busy exploring the curious world around him, expressing himself with paintings, drawings, or whatever the creative medium may be.

If everyone upon the planet is born an artist, then everyone (if they so wish to) can potentially become one again. One must simply put in the time and dedication. True, there will always be someone whom is better at painting, writing, or playing piano than you …but there will never be an artist exactly like you, now or ever. The artist’s soul is his finger print.

** ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT**

Today’s local artist is Steve Mireau — a painter, musician, inspirational role model to many, and above all, an excellent human being. Steve and I go back some years. Oddly enough, we met at a funeral. We played our guitars and sang songs together with a few other musicians after the procession and have remained friends ever since. It was the best funeral I’d ever been to.

Steve performs for the public regularly, and has released his own album of original songs. The name of that album is, “Traveling”. On that album, Steve sings, and plays the guitar and harmonica. Even more impressively – he does it all from his wheelchair, as he is paralyzed from the upper chest down. He has limited movement in his arms, and no finger function at all. He performs masterfully. This is one example of an artist whom has certainly put in the due time and dedication to his art.

In addition to performing original music, he is also a very talented painter. Steve paints a variety of subjects, including beautiful landscapes, vibrant abstracts, and gorgeously rendered female nudes. Care to view or even purchase some of these marvelous creations? Just hop on down the bunny trail that is Knowles Ave. and stop in at the Ink Junki Fine Art Gallery here in New Richmond. One may also visit Steve’s website, http://www.stevemireau.com for further information.

I will sign off with a quote from one of the greatest painters of the 20th century: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso.

I suppose that some of us (and this includes Steve and myself) just end up beating the odds. Perhaps we are blessed with a magnificent screw-loose. Perhaps when one creates art, the odds are with you, no matter what…

Steve.jpg

 

 

Artist’s Corner #3: The Pitcher & Jenna Wojan

Welcome back to The Artist’s Corner! To kick off this week’s column, here are a few thoughts from your local creative:

Imagine the creative mind as a tall pitcher. The pitcher becomes full, drop by drop, with ideas and sensations gathered from our experiences throughout the day or week. Inevitably, the pitcher becomes so full that it is soon overflowing! Ideas are running over the sides and it is required that one empties the thing in its designated area so as not to waste such a precious resource. So we turn to the canvas, the blank page, or the molding clay and get to work with pouring it all out. Not a drop from the Creative Pitcher is wasted, if the artist can manage it.

Soon enough we become emptied and satisfied, an emotion not far removed from something post-coital. Then a slight anxiety may ensue — “What if I remain forever emptied?” the artist asks him or herself. Yet sure enough, drip by drip, the pitcher collects its contents, often unbeknownst to us. Just by living our lives and engaging with the world, the Creative Pitcher becomes full to overflowing once more. The artist must get back to work!

This week’s featured local artist seemingly creates from a pitcher that teems from the brim…

*** ARTIST’S SPOTLIGHT ***

Today we meet graphic design artist and natural born creative, Jenna Wojan. Jenna and I chatted over Bloody Marys’ this past Thursday, discussing everything from art and creativity to books, authors, and horror films. The thing which one notices about Jenna almost immediately is that she’s one of the coolest, most down-to-Earth, kind and open-minded people you’re ever to meet.

Jenna’s art is bold, striking, and bound to shake you up. It is art that is not for everyone, but only for the open minds whom will appreciate original aesthetics and a style that does not conform to status quo convention. Her art showcases an authentic and inventive mind that is not afraid to make one feel things at a visceral level.

Jenna utilizes imagery taken from fashion magazines, 1950’s pin-up girl calendars, old photographs and stills from classic films to create new visual worlds for the viewer to become immersed in. Her keen eyes, creative intuition, and expert knowledge on the elements of graphic design all play a part in the creation of strikingly surrealistic collages. Within each piece, one is instinctually drawn in by a perfectly balanced display of color, texture, tone, and movement.

My girlfriend and I have one of Jenna’s collage prints proudly displayed at home. You can too, by viewing her online portfolio (www.jennawojan.com) and purchasing one of her modestly priced artworks! In my humble opinion, the world could use more creative, genuine human beings like Jenna Wojan.

As per the tradition, I shall sign off with our inspirational creative quote of the week:

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath.

GM

Thoughts on Freedom, Art, Rebellion and Watching the Flies Do It.

Hope my fellow bloggers will enjoy this abundance of aphorisms I’ve concocted this morning!

*

Two flies landed on the page I was reading in my book and began to fuck. The sight was not as boring as I’d thought it would be.

*

Introverts are not necessarily anti-social. It is only that whenever people are around there is bound to be very little peace and quiet. If people brought with them peace and quiet reflection wherever they went, introverts would be crowd lovers.

Perhaps it is the extroverts whom are, in reality, anti-social; always shaking people from their thoughts and pushing them to go out and do things like dancing, drinking, conversing, etc. is perhaps not such a social temperament at all.

*

The greatest worldly value of the artist is that he or she presents not only visions of another way of thinking and perceiving: he or she presents new visions of being. The artist, whether he is aware of the fact or not, is often a creator of possible solutions.

*

Artists are the manufacturers of ideas and dreams merged with knowledge.

The Artist’s Equation is:

Ideas + Dreams + Knowledge x Action²  = Revolution

*

It occurs to me that nearly all of my creative and most daring endeavors in this life emerges out of a rebellion against futility. Futility is a haunting specter and a perpetual threat, like an axe on a hair trigger, rigged over every doorway.

I am a man of constant rebellion.

*

I write just to steady myself sometimes. Just writing down in my journal where I am and whom I’m with provides me with some illusion of stability; a feeling of comfort, at least. Like a sea sick sailor upon a storm-blown deck, grabbing hold of the cold iron railing. Life is like that: an always unsteady, at times raging sea. We feel we must all grab hold of something, for fear we may lose ourselves overboard…

*

The reason for my love and championship of art is because art means freedom. In putting words to paper, I am free to create whatever world I choose. My only limit is myself. In my world, I am God tending to his creations. I am free.

The artist is a practitioner of freedom. All his liberties are conditions set by his/her imagination.

*

Soldiers are human beings whom sacrifice their freedom in order that they may “fight for freedom”. Yet isn’t the best way to “fight for freedom” to remain free? To exemplify freedom by means of the choices one makes in one’s life? Giving the military ownership over one’s own mind and body seems outright anti-freedom to me. Fascist, even!

Having said that, I can feel that bloody, war-torn eagle screaming down at me, ravenous with pulsing talons itching to sink into my flesh, all the while screaming, “Freedom is not free!

*

America is a nightmare,

smothered with crosses like kisses &

soaked with proud stupidities

as if they were our children’s wishes.

Groupthink just as plentiful

as my kitchen’s dirty dishes.

*

Life, ultimately, has the quality of being forgettable. Humans become so caught up, so distracted by their day-to-day routines that they forget their primary preoccupation: that they exist at all.

*

“A rejections of seriousness” is something I consider to be simultaneously wise and foolish. Whether it is truly one or the other depends on the relative perception of the person rejecting seriousness. One is the cowardly fool, the philistine whom rejects serious matters and earnest discussion because he or she is simply too ignorant or stupid to comprehend – and cowardly in that he will not even attempt at comprehension.

The other is the wise, for he or she is knowledgeable of the fact that in this world “seriousness” accounts for little except a deduction of time and emotional energy. For all is truly absurd and impermanent, and if armed with this knowledge, how seriously can we take ourselves?

*

His ex-wife was a hair-stylist, and that was the last time he ever got his hair cut…

Reflections on the Art & Poetry Readings at Amery Ale Works in Amery, WI.

I had to turn back after driving halfway there. Forgot my god damned reading papers. How is one to read aloud without his papers? Shit! I drove back doing fifteen miles over the speed limit, only slowing down to legal speed whenever my authority-radar began going off. I’d be doing 70 in a 55, get a sudden pig-whiff, then slow down to 55, and sure enough, just over the hill, a police cruiser would be sitting behind a billboard sign by the side of the highway. After I passed him a half mile, I’d pick up speed again.

I arrived home, ran inside, grabbed the papers, hopped back in the car and sped like the dickens again all the way to Amery Ale Works. The readings began at 7:00PM and I wanted to be on time. The Works is a three level barn fleshed out and made into a hell of a nice bar-restaurant. It was here that I’d be reading some of my poems to an audience for my first time. I felt simultaneously nervous and excited.

I met my good friend, Benjamin Eastman, in the gravel parking lot outside of the Works. There wasn’t a single vacant parking spot, so Ben and I sort of made up our own. Ben is skinny, very polite and kind, and a great conversationalist. We greeted each other warmly and made our way inside.

We found the Works to be pretty appealing. The Works is located off a county road, way back in the boonies. An eighty foot grain silo stands like a beacon to earnestness and hard work beside the renovated barn. It’s long been emptied and great, intricate vines has covered its surface.

We took the little path passing the silo and the people lounging on the patio and made our way to the bar on the basement level. I ordered a Black Oak Chardonnay and so did Benjamin. We took our glasses and marched on. We found our way upstairs, the main level with a bar, the poets, and Josie Coen’s macro-photograph gallery.

The photographs were very pretty and interesting and we appreciated them. I began telling Ben about a photograph Josie had taken. “It’s called the beer smear,” I said. “Someone had set a pint of beer on the table. The condensation from the beer left a ring and when the person picked up the beer, it left a smear. So Josie took a photo of it and called it, ‘Beer Smear’”.

That’s when I saw Josie mingling with the crowd. I congratulated her on the success of her first showcase. She had her hair all done up pretty, wore a fetching black dress and was of gregarious mood.

We made our way to the top level. Dan Osbourne’s painting gallery is up there. Dan has a strongly impressionistic style, painting subjects which range from wild, wind-blown trees to pretty women with unforgettable smiles. Ben and I got to talking about painting, art style, and then about jazz and how we wished this art event would have some Coltrane or Miles playing in the background. It would be perfect, we both agreed.

We went on and on and on because that’s what Benjamin and I are good at: talking about everything from existentialist philosophy to art, jazz, to homemade cabinets. You never know what will subject could come up next. We’d talk about life for an eternity if people would only allow it.

Hearing an applause, we ran back downstairs to the bar. I bought a tall glass of Stout. So did Ben.

Stephanie, poet and host for the poetry reading, went up to the lonely microphone set in front the crowd. She introduced herself and called out to Tom and asked if he want to read first. Tom was sitting at the bar, going through his reading papers.
“Tom?” said Tom. “Which Tom? I thought you said I could go last? I’m not ready!”

“That’s fine! How about you, Tylor? Would like you come up here and break the ice?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said. “Just after I get one more beer!”

The crowd giggled a bit. “Okay! Tylor Mintz will be our first poet to read tonight, right after he gets his beer.”

I got my beer and went up there. I sat on the stool, nervously adjusting the microphone. Josie’s teenage son sat about six feet way operating a camera, recording the event for posterity.

“Well, I’ve brought a lot of subversive material tonight.” I said.

The crowd chuckled because they thought I was only kidding.

“But I think we’ll just start out with something light,” I said.

I went on to declare a war on the United States of America.

People applauded at its end and I wasn’t thrown out. So I read another piece called, “The Crucified Cock”.

No, I wasn’t talking about a rooster in that piece. I could feel the crowd was slightly against me, but that was okay. I went on to read a love poem, one that rhymed and was slightly more of traditional flavor. A crowd pleaser, so I thought.

“Okay,” I said. “This is my last one.”

A stern man sitting in front clapped gratefully when I said that.

“I really appreciate you guys holding back the tomatoes,” I said.

“And for not shooting me.” I added.

I read my last poem, “A Loved Woman with Claws”, a piece about angry women and their peculiarly devastating effects upon the minds of sensitive men.

When I finished, the stern man softened and said, “That was sweet.”

Then I hopped off my stool to let the next poet take his or her fifteen minutes of spotlight. I stood off to the side with Benny and drank more beer. Roxanne got up there next and read a wonderful piece called, “Coming Out at 66”.

Roxanne has a great spirit and stylishly large eyeglasses with thick frames. She read to us poems about fairies, working off of a lovely double-entendre. She even wore a “fairy crown” during the first half of her reading. After Roxanne finished, a lady hopped up there and gave us her back story and read to us poems about her life and about the love of God’s grace and so forth and so on. Ben and I went over to the far corner and sat at a little table, chatting quietly while the lady read. We ordered two glasses of blueberry beer, which was delicious.

Stephanie (you may know her better by her pseudonym, Ameya), got up there next. She read to us clearly and confidently. Ben and I both agreed her poems were pretty intriguing.

I noticed Roxanne was taking leave, so I made sure to say goodbye. I told her about my awkward feelings while on stage and that a man had applauded when I said I’d be done reading.
“Yeah, well, he probably voted for Donald Trump and he’ll probably vote for him again. So you can’t take that to heart.”

She also informed me that I was special, and that it was only a matter of time before someone noticed that and I would be doing things on a national level. Roxanne is a very talented person with an extraordinarily kind soul.

I heard an introduction over the speakers, so I got my ass back inside. I didn’t want to miss what other people were doing.

Tom got up there as the night’s last reader, as was promised him. Tom struck us as a special human being. Tom is a farmer and a construction worker. If one were to look at him, one would never guess that this was a man whom wrote poems in his spare time. My favorite of his poems was about a raging river of life. When he finished his set I yelled out to him, “Rage on, Tom!” and of course meant it.

Ben and I agreed there ought to be more events like this for writers and artists, and we should work together on creating a gathering for writers and artists. After all, all art is local, and this is a war we small town creatives are waging – an art war. We are currently enlisting foot soldiers, generals, sergeants, etc. It is a slow, yet sure revolution.

“What’s that you’ve got there, Ben?” I asked. He had a large print in his hand. He turned over.  It was Josie’s “Beer Smear”.

I drove home with my inner authority-radar on full alert, since it was Friday night and the cruisers would be out filling quotas. I sped very carefully all the way home. Then I talked sweetly to my girlfriend and we made love and went to sleep around midnight.

It all made for a damn nice day. After all, poetry, art, wine, and love are the spices of life.

All Art is Local

All Art is Local

It is the duty of the average citizen, that microscopic specimen which composes the nation, like a particle to an atom, to keep art alive.

It is often said that all politics is local, and so it is. Likewise with all education, all culture, religion, attitude, etc. If the United States of America is a living body, it is the people whom are the conglomerations of its major parts: the legs, feet, arms, hands, torso, and head. If any of these conglomerations of the people should become afflicted with bouts of apathy and shirk their duties, the health of the country shall suffer from disease.

We must, at a local level, continue to encourage the funding of music and art courses in our public schools, if we are to expect a future, grown up nation appreciative of culture and the arts. We must find ourselves resolute to live and breathe the arts within our daily lives, just as an educated citizen may read the daily newspaper and duly cast his or her vote in the upcoming election. In short, all art is local.

 ***

And now for a few aphorisms of divine intoxication….

  • The invention of automatic doors (handicapped accessible doors being the exception) has served only to increase laziness among the general populace and to decrease all gestures of chivalry (example: the opening of a door for a lady).
  • In the name of all that is merciful, deliver me from stagnation.
  • Consider me wiser for knowing that when faced with the choice of money or life, always to choose life. In accordance to economic wealth and misery, or economic destitution and happiness, always shall I discern with ready judgement, the latter.
  • The past is the sediment which crystallizes the present.
  • Human organization is the mother of convention.
  • I value the possession of my library card vastly over my state driver’s license. A library card is a veritable gateway to the human imagination, which is infinite, and thus, a true responsibility. A driver’s license is an obligatory access card which society insists is a “privilege”.
  • Angels are often outcasts.

 

Shattered Paradigms

If the muse refuses to reveal herself, if the inspiration wanes and the art fails, the best remedy is to decimate a beloved paradigm. A disruption of daily habit is the trigger-pull. Change your diet, quit your job, rearrange your sleep schedule, take up astronomy, join a club, plan a murder, drink less beer, etc., etc. With great change in one’s life comes great inspiration. Change, flexibility and vulnerability are the necessary ingredients to a rich, creative life and the wise precautions to an existence spent in stagnation.

For within every paradigm of human thought and behavior is a self-imposed limitation. We must sometimes outright shatter our paradigms and expand our standard of limitation until the word “impossible” transcends its meaning and becomes an arbitrary vagrant to our lexicon.