Ode to the Out-of-Hand Character

There’s been something about you since the day you first appeared
Your metaphorical birth sparking widespread interest
Raising eyebrows, giving Professors topic ideas to hurl at bored students
Fostering that little flame of rebellion in your author
That says “I can make something no one has seen. I can awe creation.”

You had a lock on this whole character development thing
It was the rest of your world that couldn’t keep up, lagging
Like a bogged down internet connection, throwing problems at you
You could solve in your sleep. Forcing other characters to act against reason,
To provide an excuse why you should have any pain at all.

And it was that, your resistance to pain, your apparent invulnerability
That made you a target, that goaded your author into raining untold hell.
It was your strength, your superiority to fellow inhabitants of your particular story,
That made it impossible for you to outlive them. Your author was too clever
Devising an uncontrollable force like you, an intelligence not sustainable even by its creator.

So you die, alone, stripped of your humanity, your love, while inferior personalities live on
While the story rambles past your grave, narrative desperate to make everyone forget
While dull minds are touted as genius and audiences move on to new obsessions
You are thrown on the mercies of fan authors, one in a thousand returning you to former glories
One in a million with to skill to handle fire, to come out less charred than the one who gave you life.

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Self-Made

In a home of my own making
Amidst the broken glass of an abandoned Colorado factory
The hollowed-out brambles of a Pennsylvania backwoods
Shared blankets and trash can fires of a New York slum

Sticks and sheets and coffee cans
Huddled under a bridge
Decorated with a showcase of my discoveries

Cobbled together handiwork
Make the best found-item artists proud

With friends of my own making
Fellow travelers and lost boys
Street preacher questioning his book
Cop who turns an eye when I “find” bread

Songs and stories and helping hands
The few who look at me from where they are
And accept the journey to who I am

Cobbled together acquaintances
From the throngs of passersby

Through plans of my own making
Tomorrow’s landing site, today’s art medium
Who to say goodbye to, who to invite along
How to respond to the next insult, what hat to wear

Trails and trials and mangled maps
Close my eyes and point
To who I will be next

Cobbled together dreams
Building a sculptor from the clay

From components handed to me
An upwardly mobile society
A forgotten trade
Poor decisions by someone who once was me

Snips and snails and castaway coins
I pick up where you leave off
Twigs discarded at my threshold

Woven together human
Designs from a graduated cobbler

From leftovers handed to me
I weave art from the twigs

Geometric beauty
A mathematical masterpiece

That no one will see
Until the birds pick through it for food

Reaction to selections from the ePhoenix Art Gallery

Today’s post comes in two poems that showcase my reaction to several paintings from the Phoenix Art Museum‘s online gallery. I know its a lot of links, but the poems read better if you’ve seen the paintings.

1. Stretch

Kelly Mclane
Big Gen X, 2004

We are stark (two-toned/ a tympani)
Not what you think (forget the black and white)
Balance high over our world (we made it/ too small)
We’re torn (we can only hear to one side)
Between the spaces of our youth (falling)
And the spaces of our wire frame (it can’t hold water)
Take a minute (it’s all we have)
To count the smudges (we’ll wait/ we’ve learned that much)
That have become our life

2. The Spaces Between

Philip C. Curtis

The Concert, 1960 / The Game, 1976

Stand apart
separate focus
ostensibly identical goals
rule of polite people
above all

After Dinner Speakers, 1974

Now remain apart
an idea per table
breaches the rule
to be heard
above all

The Fight, 1961

Impractically apart
new rule of anger
handed down
polite string master
from above all

The Lift, 1972

Lost apart
can’t find it
hold on to separate focuses
before we become human
riding here
above all

Rose Tinted Glasses

Deep Blue was just a computer
Red, a Party of incomprehensible thinkers
I only saw yellow in my own fear
The need for everything was green’s solitary use
White was the race I was born into
Black and brown, the ones I was taught to judge

Every color of the rainbow
Useless blotches on a wooden palate
Rubbish dumped to the floor
About to be trodden on when your hand slipped underneath

Caught my sole, robbed my balance and breath
With violets that sank me, drowned me with royalty
Stars that burst orange and gold behind my eyes
Blinding me with shades of colors
I have no meanings for.


Author’s Note: While there are several paintings and artists who inspired this poem, it is more of a reaction to art itself. It can also have other meanings and connotations depending on the readers’ personality, state of mind, emotions, ect. As I have said before in this blog, this is one thing I love about art in general and poetry specifically.

I do, however, want to highlight some of the artists. One of them, Thomas Kinkade, most people have heard of. The others are great, but relatively unknown. Most of them I found by searching sites like Redbubble, fineartamerica, and Etsy.

One thing I love about the WordPress poetry community is that many of the poets seek out and support one another. I think checking out art sites, like the one listed above, shows this same solidarity to fellow artists.Several of my favorite finds from these searches (in alphabetical order) are Larisa Aukon, Megan Duncanson, Johnathan Harris, Devika Keskar, Christopher Pottruff, and Jane Small.

I encourage you to check out some or all of the links above. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments: people who help you trade your rose-tinted glasses for rainbow-saturated ones.