I forgive you for being a pompous Windbag and using words like “nexus” That make us, and you, feel smarter Than we are. I forgive you because You’ve got to sell windy books Somehow to equally windy people And breezily walk the edge of Overblowing it without, oops, I Overblew it! You had to prevent us Muffy and Buffy poetry reader Types from seeing too much of Ourselves at that blustery “Nexus” of blew and blow And putting the book down And closing our handbag flaps And whistling as we walk away.
I would love to swan around and say dusty things about poetry and have everyone give a damn and have groupies who show me their boobs and read at Carnegie Hall to 53,000 screaming teeny boppers in poodle skirts
and all that other shit that real poets do and don’t actually do
but always do in my sweaty jealous glory hogging little mind.
I am working with an art therapy book geared toward body acceptance and the first art prompt was to depict our ideal creative space. I think the idea was to draw what houseplants and implements and draperies we would like in our art room, but this is what I came out with instead. It may not be a still life style depiction of what my ideal creativity space would look like–I would never be able to realistically draw a grand piano, an ancient viola, stacks and stacks of sheet music, an art table big enough to lie down on, cement floor to make messes easier to be messy, a photo studio, a recording studio, a big sink, every brush and paint and crayon and color and implement known to man, redwood tall shelves of books, red velvet chairs, open atlases mapping out all the adventures I’ve had and am yet to have, and above it all, the ceiling painted with the zodiac so I have a mapped out sky and eternally turning fate overhead always–I may not be able to realistically draw any of that, but what I did come up with accurately represents what would be going on in that space in the ether, among all that glorious stuff while the art was happening. There would be the spirit of Mercury, planet and god, and a Valentine from him charged electric positive and negative. There would be wild hair–my hair–probably red and black paint in my wild white hair. There would be me looking through my glasses, their dark frame the slightly warped symbol for infinity. My poodle, blue in this drawing for tranquility, would be there nosing my hands across the page in smarter directions than I would have ever thought of on my own. The numbers 12 and 21 would likely pop up everywhere, mysteriously as they do in every corner of my life already. The technological universe is coded on 0 and 1. My little universe is 1 and 2. There is eternity everywhere! The ouroboros, the dense spiral in Mercury’s head, the glasses… And yellow sunny swirls all over and underneath because this is Apollon and the Muses’ space as much as, if not more than mine. And finally, a treble clef because, in this space, everything sings.
Let’s get vulnerable with each other. Let’s get naked and play the mirror game. Let’s do it in front of a group of twenty-somethings with their whole brilliant lives ahead of them. Let us let them sit cross-legged in a circle around us and let us let them bombard us with questions as we try to mirror each other’s movements exactly.
We’ll have to answer honestly and be beastly to ourselves in this game because it is impossible to lie focused only on each other, move for move, even down to the twitch in the corner of my mouth and yours when someone lazily lobs, “What is your worst feat?”
We say, “This.”
We are afraid of this. We are afraid of only ever being as good as each other, locked in the hopelessness of leprous perfectionism. Not singly—mutually. Each other’s. Always each other’s.
We are afraid of this: falling short, move for move, in each other’s eyes forever.
I got out my colored pencils today and made a holy mess! It is an illustration (sort of) for a short essay I wrote earlier entitled, “In All Fairness, Salmon Is Disgusting.” You see it now, right?
Drawing/painting is one of my absolute favorite things in life and the one thing at which I am righteously bad and totally at peace with that fact. I am legally blind and supremely ungifted at visual art, so, for me, art-making is the equivalent of a tone deaf person “making a joyful noise.”
Hopefully you’ll be seeing more of my (sort of) illustrations on this blog. Making bad art joyfully is one of the most freeing things any artist who hopes to joyfully make good art can do. I need this in my life. I need the freedom. Perfectionism has had me so pent up for so long, I need to remind myself it’s OK not to be gold all the time and it’s OK not to be gold right out in public where everyone can see it.
So here I am… Not gold… but just about every other color of the rainbow.
A smorgasbord of inspiration Laid on the table—trauma The bitter bean salad No one will touch and The cook would sooner Abandon her Tupperware Than admit she’s the one Who brought the bitter beans To the funerary feast.