In the name of Art

When all my ambitions and desires die,
when everything in me ebbs away,
and I am merely a hollowed vessel that floats along the coast
– I shall cease to be human.

When all my beliefs and fervor fade,
when everything I was is but a distant mist,
and I am merely a branch of driftwood, brought in by the tides
– I shall cease to be human.

When all my sentience and hunger hit the rocks,
when everything I did is long forgotten,
and I am merely splinters washed away
– I shall cease to be human.

I’ll be wood and wind and water.
I’ll be sand and salt and sun.

But as long as there is poetry in my lungs,
and my lips cling to it like a teething child,
I shall walk along the beach
and swim in those finite waters,
I shall write and sing and shout
that I am human
and claim myself
for myself
in the name of art.

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My Heart, My Life

My Life

~ I’m not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don’t prefer one “strain” to another.
I want the immediacy of a Greek tragedy,
its cathartic stab to the heart, the hollowed out,
redemptive exhale. I want to be
at least as alive as the spirit of poetry.
And if some aficionado of my mess says “That’s
not like her!”, screw it! “Screw you!” I
don’t wear brown and grey suits all the time.
I wear men’s shirts and make coffee barefoot
often. I want my skin to be nestled against,
my feet to be bare,
my fingers employed, and my heart —
you can’t plan on the heart,
but the better part of it is closed off to the world. ~

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My Heart by Frank O’Hara

I’m not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don’t prefer one “strain” to another.
I’d have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says “That’s
not like Frank!”, all to the good! I
don’t wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart–
you can’t plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

change(/)life itself

What’s our biggest fear?
Is it failing?
Regret?
Something else?

Why is it so difficult to love?
Is it warped expectations?
Is it him?
Is it me?

Why is it so difficult to live?
Is it our own fault?
Is it them? The corporations?
The system?

Why is there so much leaden worry lodged in our chests?
Why are there so many big black dogs in our heads?

Why are we not enough?
Why are we flawed?
Why is the world?
Was it the egg or the chicken’s fault?

If we change, will it get better?
Will it?
Do we all need to change?
Can we?

Is that why there’s so much disease?
Is that why it’s so difficult to live? So complex to love?
Is that the reason we fail? Is that the reason for regret? For something else all together?
Is that our biggest fear?
Change
or life itself?

Time’s Passage

On Aging by Maya Angelou

When you see me sitting quietly,
Like a sack left on the shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering.
I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!
Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it,
Otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching,
And my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor:
Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling,
Don’t study and get it wrong.
‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy
And every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then,
A little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.

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~ On Dying

When you see me sitting quietly,
Like a sack left on the shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering.
I’m listening to myself.

When you see me watching motionless,
Like a pier lapped with ebb and flow,
Don’t think I need your company,
I have a place to go.

When you see me walking, stumbling,
Like a foal an hour old,
Don’t think I need your watchful eye,
I have a path to unfold.

When my bones are stiff and aching,
And my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor:
Bring me a rocking chair. ~

“The world is full of loss … ”

~ Invocation

The world is full of loss;
bring, sleep, my love back,

my home is where we make our meeting-place,
and be it in my dreams;
my love lies within that face.

Lift, sleep, the exile from my eyes;
send peace, send life back,

lull me deep into an apparition,
a veiled, safe maze
of miscognition. ~

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The world is full of loss … by Muriel Rukeyser

The world is full of loss; bring, wind, my love,

my home is where we make our meeting-place,
and love whatever I shall touch and read
within that face.

Lift, wind, my exile from my eyes;

peace to look, life to listen and confess,
freedom to find to find to find
that nakedness.

Coming 2

~ Coming to

I’ve done what everyone else did.
I’ve discarded dreams and hopped on bandwagons, swam
mainstream, and I’ve welcomed regret
and called trite the impossible habit to break.

And now I’m here.
The dinner is ready and I cannot eat.
The meat sits in a white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to
has its rewards: nothing is promised, but nothing is taken away.
I’ve heart and time to be saved by grace,
I’ve places to go and all the old reasons not to. ~

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Coming to This by Mark Strand

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.