From the Beginning

The world has flashed me an exit sign
Screaming that dead dreams have no heartbeat
If I get out today, resuscitation may be on the table
But I’m still here

I know now that romance is the dust of a hazy glamour
And Paris is made of concrete and pickpockets
Cities born of angels spend their nights cleaning up feathers
But I’m still here

Every day with you is one less layer of skin
There are no more nails for this coffin, the straw has landed on the camel
When I crawl bleeding into the night, I’ll do it alone
But I’m still here

Because this was never about romance
All my dreams were borrowed from experienced fools
Diamond traders outsold by zirconia. We sparkle just as brightly
So I’m still here

I still live in a world of jewelry and caskets, dirt and halos
Of beauty and uncertainty and falsehood and imagery
My only constant is that you never lied to me
And that you’re still here

________________________________

Reaction to Paris, Los Angeles, and this quote by Elinor Glyn

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.

Hypnogogic Jerk

This evening’s lullaby
Everyone’s a critic
X for x’s sake

Sleep with one eye open
Memorize the patterns, sounds in the metal walls
Bang, ba-bang, clank: guard making his rounds
Bang, boom, scuffle: a new resident, learning the way of things
Schiff, bang, thunk: an old hand, giving up
So long as it’s not… Clang, clank, slam
You can still sleep with one eye open

Dream with one hand in the cookie jar
Learn the language of subtext, meaning behind the lies
We really want to work with you: you are good for our reputation
You have a real talent: as long as people keep buying, we’ll keep selling
What’s your vision for this project: we need you to think you matter
So long as it’s not… Let’s try a new direction
You can still dream with one hand in the cookie jar

Create with one foot on the ground
Recognize the warning thoughts, signs you’re losing you
It’s hard to explain: you don’t see all the hard work
I want to be true to my passion: I don’t know what is inside, but it needs to come out
No one knows who I am: I’m not sure I’m showing my true self
So long as it’s not… I deserve to be known
You can still create with one foot on the ground

This morning’s wake up song
Let’s try a new direction
Clang, clank, slam

Note: While I didn’t want to say so before the poem, this piece is a reaction to some great advice about the writing and the creative process that I have picked up from people like Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Chuck Wendig, and Maureen Johnson.

I like to show all my poems to someone who is not a big fan of poetry to get their thoughts. This time, the reaction was “I have a feeling this is depressing but I don’t know why.” I think this is an excellent way to sum up something all artists and creators go through in regard to their own work.

I pointed out that the poem is depressing because it’s about trying to create in a world, a context, that’s not always conducive to creativity. But, I continued, it’s also hopeful. Each scenario has a “So long as it’s not”: a thing that makes it less survivable. The hope of the poem lies in which of these lines is missing from the last verse.

The only one of these “So long as it’s not”s that can truly stop you is an internal one.

It’s something you can control.

Reaction to Little Supergirl

I recently came across Worth1000, a creative contest site. It encourages artists and graphics designers to create something new by mashing up things that would normally be considered incompatible. For example, their Superhero ModRen contests call for artists to add superhero elements to classic paintings. The results vary from incongruous clash to subtle blend but most have something to say about how we perceive, categorize, and react to art. My reaction poem for today is inspired by the entry that most caught my eye–Little Supergirl by aards2.

Little Supergirl 

beautiful, why so far away

let me wrap you in an anchor to me

your original haunting innocence won’t sway

I can still see you through me

but your new choice gives us both a way

to an expectation of security