Doubt II (Audio collaboration with Luke Russell)
East Village 2003
The perfect weather is about 47 degrees
and we have good heavy jackets on. It’s
nighttime, just after dinner, and all the lights
are glowing and magnificent. The car lights
and the warm tungstens bathing the streets
from the interiors and the reflectors on
the bicycles are there. And the lamplight
and the smell of hot food from the good
restaurants and there’s the smell of fresh
chocolate and the wafting of street food
on the corners. And it’s cold out, but
we’re hugged up and she’s holding on tight
and we just might stop for coffee then go to
St. Mark’s bookstore for some affordable
haughty entertainment and deep conversation.
I’ll look through the philosophy section and
read her a poem before we leave, maybe
something wise from Emerson, or a
passage from Plato on love. She’ll look through
the design books and I’ll kiss her for it. And we
stroll and we stroll just getting lost in that
steamy city air. And the sirens are dampened
in the distance and the train cars roar but it’s
a roar of passion and your spit mixes with her
spit and your blood mixes with her blood and
it’s enough to set the whole damn majestic
city on fire. And you love it, but you love
her most. And you miss it, but not too much.
Because it’s still so very alive in your soul.
With soul, and one hand out holding
a tin cup sing it to yourself…
Ch-change! Ch-change! Ch-change!
Ch-change! Ch-change! Ch-change!
Yeah, he had soul alright. Every
morning and every evening he had
soul. And I don’t know if he’s still
kickin’, this man, but he had soul.
And this destitute ol’ boy earned every
single penny, nickel, dime, and quarter
he had comin’, unlike the bums.
And that’s the distinction between
a bum and a destitute; the destitutes
have soul. The bums are all washed up.
Their souls have run south, for good.
Just like that ol’ Missisippi runs downhill
and empties into the gulf, well, their tears
done dried up. Yeah, ain’t no ocean
at the end of their tears, just rotten flesh
and dry ol’ cheek bones. Empty ebony
sockets of evil – that’s a bum for ya.
Turn their back on ya the second ya hand
‘em a sandwich, or a fifty. Doesn’t matter
though, ol’ Easy Money had soul!
And he couldn’t dance, or maybe he could,
and he couldn’t rhyme, or maybe he could,
and he couldn’t read… or, maybe he could,
but boy could he sing two lines better
than Muddy Waters on a good night.
Ch-change! Ch-change! Ch-change!
Ch-change! Ch-change! Ch-change!
Yep, that’s how he sang it alright, just like
that. And he was old and tired so he’d sit
on the stoop of that city, just owning the
wind, and the jackhammers, and the rich,
and the poor. And I talked to him once.
Couldn’t understand a damn thing he was
sayin’ except two lines, but sure, we talked.
And I was new to that city, but he took me in.
And I took him in. And you know how
they never tell ya how hard things are gonna
be, well, after one look at him you just knew
it was gonna be a long hard road ahead.
And that goes for me, for you, for everyone,
that is, if ya want soul.
So – Easy Money. This one’s for you.
Except this time I’m gonna sing it to ya.
And if you’re alive, and I know you are.
Whether up there or down here – you listen
real close now, because it ain’t mimicry
no more. The pockets are dry and there ain’t
no one ‘round here but the sky. So I’m hopin’
when you hear this you’ll cry a little, like none
of those bums ever could.
Now fill my cup baby…
Ch-change! Ch-change! Ch-change!
Ch-change! Ch-change! Ch-change!
Loved to sit and sip a highball with my dad.
I loved to sit on his lap when I was glad.
He wore a hat brimmed all the way around –
O how he loved to hear the sound of my laugh
when I was just a little chap wearing his hat!
My dad said he’d hit him with his shoes.
It’s difficult for me to believe that he ever got the blues,
or, that a man like him could ever lose.
He lived a long life, my grampa!
But, in the end he went blind –
I wonder what was in his mind?
Maybe a swan swimming or a love song,
or, did he long to be with grama again grinning?
Who’s to say really, but, I bet he’s with her now being silly!
Sitting atop some mischievous cloud
still throwing shoes at my proud dad!
Of course, my dad is still living,
but, that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t feel that blunt wallop!
Grampa had a little gallop so
when it came to clambering around the house
he was innocent seeming to me as a mouse,
but again, he loved his highballs –
then he’d get to high steppin’,
and I bet that’s when he’d use that shoe as a weapon!
For, in my heart is a worm eating at me
The sweat wiped from just above my brow is amazing
I go forward like this blindly with motion on my side
And all my days I go on like this knowing not what I do
But what I say, for, I am gay
I Hope She Smiles When She Reads This
Sometimes a sentence can run on and on and it’s okay as long as you have something good to say like this one time I wrote a poem about a girl and it was one of my best poems yet and it was called The Moon and I, then I sent it to her and she enjoyed it, I think, because she responded positively in a written message but I really am not totally sure because I’ve seen her since and she behaved in an awkward way like she didn’t really know how to act or what to say but she’s beautiful and so am I so I didn’t know what to say either and she has a boyfriend anyway who I hope treats her well at least better than I have when I’m drunk in the place and not saving face and looking at other gal’s asses and, you know, other gal’s faces, and you know, making conversation with the other girls who don’t really stack up but you have to live when you’re alone and be social even though it’s difficult especially when I read her poem The Moon and I at a poetry reading held in a very small town west of here and it was received well like people were wooing and wowing and even flirting with their shouts and whistles, I think there were whistles, but anyhow, it made me feel good and bad at the same time because though I wrote something caring and sexy she wasn’t there to hear it and I laid it all on the line that night, was shaking like a wounded bird approached by a human but my voice never cracked so I guess there’s that and how I wish she were here now as I lay down these words in her absence and I bet she won’t read this even though I hope she does because it’s obvious the hold she has on me and she should know that one thing, that I am possessed by her gorgeous straight as an arrow just past the shoulders beautiful brown hair and her baby face and her boisterous bosom and even more boisterous smile and perfect teeth.
It Takes Time (Audio collaboration with Luke Russell)
Just A Little Crazy
As the sun beats down
As the laborers do their part
With them in the middle setting
Some crazies don’t seek shade,
Until the cops
God knows I graduated with honors only once
Just A Little Crazy (Audio collaboration with Luke Russell)
My Enemy (Audio collaboration with Luke Russell)
Answers are not to be expected with art making. It is an open-ended pursuit. There is no reason we make art other than to fulfill a need. This need is expressed by the art we make, so we go on making it to understand more fully our need. It is of utmost importance to realize that the work alone is how we begin to understand our need. This is why the work comes first and the writing and talk second. All three help in awareness, but only making and viewing the work is truly fulfilling. It is of little use to question or doubt our impulses while making and our responses while viewing the work. These moments keep us in line with our needs. After a while experimentation is no longer necessary because we are guided entirely by the awareness of our impulses and responses. Experimentation gives way to expression. It is not experimentation when we are following inner directives and are conscious of these. At this point there will be little desire for stories about what we have done or plan to do. More attention will be given to the making and to silent response. The work alone holds the meaning. The painter who paints beyond their immediate need is painting out of materialistic desire. This art is the craft of decoration, ornament, and luxury. It is about skill and surface beauty. Not genuine concerns for the artist. Desire is false in the face of the viewer and is detected likewise. Its appeal, though seductive, is of mere sensation and appearance. Overtime, the artist gains awareness enough of their needs to discontinue the creation of such works. As awareness develops we become naturally dissatisfied with skill-ridden work, or decadence. It becomes clear to the artist the difference between refinement and skill. Those who draw the distinction detect their needs, those who cannot will in time, and those who are not concerned with need are not involved with art making, but with the production of empty commodity. There is plenty commodity of all kinds posing as artwork. When responding to this work we do not respond according to our needs, but according to our desires, a strictly pleasure based response. This work is quickly exhausted. It is preoccupied with the illusion of reality, the pleasure principle of luxury. Real artworks are capable of all sorts of responses, including that of pleasure. The difference in core response between artwork and the viewing of luxurious objects is of satisfaction. Our response to artwork is of a deeper kind. It strikes chords within us that we remember, which enlighten us to our sensibility, to our individual needs. Experience such as this is not interchangeable. Objects of desire excite us temporarily, but are immemorable and replaceable, therefore unfulfilling.
Oil (Audio collaboration with Luke Russell)
Having known work, I sit.
I look to the drippings of countless
days upon the painter’s mat.
Three newly dried puddles of blue-violet.
Time endures a new generation.
Scarlet (Audio collaboration with Luke Russell)
The American Way
I used to work 11 hour days in a frame shop in Brooklyn to no end locking up every night after the art machine of commerce was empty of evil and all the brown packages were wrapped and labeled for shipment the following day. Then I would work another day and night and lock up after all the brown packages were wrapped and labeled for shipment the following day. Then I would work another day and night and lock up after all the brown packages were wrapped and labeled for shipment the following day and again and again. And then it was straight home to an apartment with 5' doors on the rooms and I would cook dinner and sleep until I could conjure enough energy to enter my studio at the back of the apartment and proceed to be creative the best I could. And I would use a hair dryer to dry the paint and a compressor to drive the nails and the only thing that was really driven at all was me by that city and occasionally I would see my gal but my head was so full of gears it ended after a year and it was goodbye to that city. Goodbye to her. And goodbye to the work that was bled from me like oil from derricks and in turn I made the blackest black and the apartment then collapsed into the depression of madness of days and nights haunted by the failed construct of capitalism on young souls who once had passion and grit and big eyes for fame and love and empathy for humanity and they crushed it like limestone beneath a grater then called upon new recruits for to suck their innocence too. Fuck the world.
The American Way (Audio collaboration with Luke Russell)
The Fire, It Still Burns
It’s good to get out, see the world,
even if it’s just a trip to the smoke shop,
or the gas station. Maybe you’ll have
some contact. Something to remind
you that the world exists out there.
Someone might say something like,
“How are you”, or, “What’s up man”,
or if you’re lucky on a sunny day
a woman might just complement you
on how you look, or on what you do.
Today’s a little bit like that. Actually,
it’s just like that. Sometimes I feel like
I live here, in these lines, in these letters.
And the world is shit on those days
because you don’t want to live in here
bumming around the same old tropes
and words, banging your head up against
boredom and the monotony of art. No,
you want to live out there where the sun
shines like a beautiful diamond, or where
it’s golden like the hair of some casual
blonde out for a stroll laughing and toying
with her friends. Yes, you want to
live life like no tomorrow, to its fullest,
without the debauchery of booze and cigs.
A clean, clean, clean life sober as a man
with a mission to live life on the wings of
trumpeting geese or bald eagles that could,
with their clawed grip, pluck words, fresh
words, like animals from atop the soil
and do some good. This studio, this place,
it gets old after a while and then you know
it’s bad, really bad, when you start writing
about yourself in a way that the ego won’t
even fit onto the page. You sit down to
write after returning from the store, or the
gas station, or the smoke shop, and you fling
your coat down in anger and it’s back to
work. But then, something new comes.
And it’s like that sunset right outside
your door, fresh with life, not shielded
by the scum of cigarette tar on the
windshield but like a one on one
encounter with God or a Lion, and then
you know it, the fire, it still burns.
The Genius Is A Medium
I know of a young man, younger than I, that is gifted as the sky.
And I never thought of the sky as gifted until now.
But it contains the birds, the insects, the rainbows, and the sun,
And these are just the obvious things that come to mind when having fun.
And he’s black and he’s young, and I can’t avoid these aspects
When writing of him because I must be honest with you here.
This is the space for some honesty, yes,
And on this day, I will tell you, that he has inspired me to write.
And on this day, I will record, that he considers himself, at times, a mere conduit.
And on this day, I shall confirm, that he is one.
But, on this day, I shall also say that I have evidence of his further gift,
For, there have been times, like this one, that a massive lift
Has greeted my gravitous bones.
And I credit his writing and him as a man of words for the lift,
For, he has born my mind into something of the birds and insects that do fly.
Therefore, that’s the reason I will give you why Tim is gifted as the sky.
And it shan’t be odd that I mention his flesh,
For, it’s further proof that the blessed know of not one single color,
But that they know of many, and that they wear the universal color of the sky.
Yes, we do – He and I
The genius is a medium through which others communicate thought and can be seen as the scribe of a culture; a painter, a person, an individual by which ideas pass through. The source is at times unknown to him and her, nevertheless, he communicates by will, inspiration, and self; and by self only insofar as the expression serves his will and permissions. A profound echo of voices is engaged within him of which he is sometimes aware, and then, a sudden occurrence, outburst, or accumulation of subtler inspired moments is released into the world by way of birth, creativity, empathy, love, and compassion. Ok, now I will elaborate…
The will comes into play before and after the perception of the object; the object in this sense, being, whatsoever is employed by genius. And by employed, I mean, willed into being. As Arthur Schopenhauer wrote long ago, “For genius to appear in an individual, it is as if a measure of the power of knowledge must have fallen to his lot far exceeding that required for the service of an individual will; and this superfluity of knowledge having become free, now becomes the subject purified of will, the clear mirror of the inner nature of the world.” But, the scribe as I like to call him and her, the genius, is not emancipated of will entirely – only for the duration of the pure perception of the object. It is by his decision and by his discretion as to utter the words, write the letter, create the work of art, do the science – to execute his or her true interaction with the world. And that decision, always, is through will. Yet, the abundance of knowledge or creative guidance provided him by others, I can only describe as, being like a gift vested him by sources sometimes unknown as Schopenhauer wrote, by “the gift of genius”.
Furthermore, Schopenhauer went on to write, “[…] In other words genius is the ability to leave entirely out of sight our own interest, our willing, and our aims and consequently to discard our own personality for a time, in order to remain pure knowing subject, the clear eye of the world; and this not merely for moments but with the necessary continuity and conscious thought to enable us to repeat by deliberate art what has been apprehended, and “what in wavering apparition gleams fix in its place with thoughts that stand forever!” […]” And by, “to leave entirely out of sight our own interest, our willing, and our aims and consequently to discard our own personality for a time” this is where I again come into play. For, it is by an orchestration of internal voices that I hear and perceive. But, the orchestration is there to help, positively, toward our aim and this duration of perception is bookended by a demonstration of will. Therefore, yes, I agree with Schopenhauer that it is not our self, or our “personality”, as he puts it that is the guide; it is those voices of others who guide for the duration of our perception sanctioned on either end, by will.
The Mystery of Painting
Painting is what I live for.
And to write about painting is a joy, an absolute joy.
You do this, and everyone questions why.
Because, no man ever existed that knew why.
Some live to write about a woman.
Some live to write about the world.
I live to write about painting and to do my best at everything else.
I love it, life.
We have two cats, Change and Two.
This piece marks a breakthrough
A calm amidst the storm
A beautiful sunshine through the darkened leaves and shade
And it is Nature at its fullest – bright, echoed, smoldering
One grey stripe to divide the pain and happiness
One grey stripe to provide you with direction and deliberate decision making
One grey to symbolize unity
The unity of all and the absence of all, white and black
This is my painting
Each member represented by a square
And it is perfect
And the purple floats above the grey
It is their royalty, Chris and Justin’s
And Chris is one lavender heart and Justin, the boldest red beside her
And Mom is one bright orange square
And Dad, blue
And me, the center
And Chad, orange with a little black mixed in
And Tiff, turquoise with horizontally applied brushwork
And Kevin, just beside her, on the other side of the grey – blue-green
And Grandma, a vertical turquoise square, slightly lighter in coloration than Tiffany’s
And Grey, well, he is in the stripe
And me, a fleshy colored square to the right of the stripe below Kevin
And there was only one correction made in the yellow to hide a number I didn’t want to see
And I signed it on the front with a paint marker, acrylic
I love the drip, the one lone drip and specs of paint
Otherwise, it’s yours to have and to hold and to restore with age
Upon Looking At Two Gouaches
Guide the mark until it guides you – Let it live! Let it breathe!
Heaviness and lightness in one piece,
The rectangles pulsate
You go in – into the piece
Then, once you identify with the plain it pushes and pulls visually taking you in, out, and around the plain.
It’s a slow progression of ins and outs from colored rectangle to rectangle
The light dazzles
The shadows rest inward.
The cool shadows offer respite from the higher intensity shapes
Interlocking – connectivity
Doorways to a fantastic freedom of space
A mental activity warmed and cooled by the spirit – by the heart.