Category Archives: Art

It Turns Out That Yes, You Are an Artist

You’re an artist; and YOU are an artist and you too are an artist…

I’m feeling like I’m in touch with Oprah here, but you are an artist.

Once I wrote a piece called the 8 Stages of Poetic Ego [scroll down for that], designed to help people see that they can be poets without passing through all the literary politics of getting published in a poetry journal. We can all be poets, even bad poets if need be.

And rappers are poets and even Celine Dion. And slam poets.

But it’s bigger than that. We can all be artists. And that’s a good thing.

And here’s a few minutes to reinforce that.

Bring your own CHAIR! 🙂

The Eight Stages of Poetic Ego

All begin with “Have the strength to . . . ”

1. Write a poem.
2. Love it as you would love your child.
3. Send it to someone who may publish it.
4. Admit to yourself that you are a writer [not merely that you “write stuff”].
5. Show/share your creation to friends and other loved ones.
6. Tell friends with confidence that you are a writer.
7. Read your poetry to others.
8. Self-publish.

– This is the order of the stages of poetic ego that I went through.  Sort of.  I skipped #3, but that’s where it would fit.
– Another’s order may differ slightly.
– Relapses to earlier stages is to be expected.
– #1-4 are almost strictly personal and #5-7 are more public, #8 is undefinable.
– Please enjoy, modify to your situation [if required] and pass it on.

Why TV Keeps Almost Being Good

There was once a show called Revolution. And another called Scorpion.

Each had a great premise: a world after electricity, and what happens when you have a bunch of geniuses trying to work together on cool projects.

Each failed miserably [as art] almost immediately.

Why? Nothing new here. Network TV isn’t about high quality art. Sometimes that happens inadvertently, but usually it just has to be interesting enough to keep people watching the commercials.

Besides, people who appreciate real art may not be so enthused with all the car, fast food, sweatshop clothes and other materialism-obsessed capitalist elements.

So if you’re wondering why network TV isn’t as good as The Wire, Orange is the New Black, or other shows on HBO or Netflix, it’s because there isn’t this massive distraction of keeping people attentive for the commercials.

Bed-Sized Universe

In the liminal state
Between yesterday’s deluge of logistics and over-stimulation
And tomorrow’s hopefully more meditative study
Of deep river shore line,
I lie in bed
Between clay ground and vapour clouds.

I can’t feel fully grounded
I keep floating up,
Like bed spins but more trippy.

Like the mortal coil extending
But not to the degree where I’d lose touch of the ground completely,
Which is critical for staying conscious of two states that rarely blur this much.

And the states of my being
Compete for supremacy,
But I resist and carry them both
In my liminality
In my knowing
In my wishing
In my seeking and sensing for truths or just facts or just moments.

Because my bed-sized universe
Is both infinite and conveniently knowable within my capacity,
And I secretly want to stay here
Like John and Yoko in their bed-in
But mine will be all mine
With people drifting in and out
As I zoom in on their mortal coils and drag them close
Closer than they usually are
Closer than I usually see them
Close enough
To know
And sense
And wish them here,
Out of time itself.

A Whale Kisses the Bottom of YOUR Boat!

I haven’t been able to get this image out of my head for days.

It keeps coming back.

It keeps asking me why we all feel so disconnected from nature all the time, in the bubble of our cars, smart phones and wifi lives.

Ecology is in the corner of your eye. Darting over there. It’s the SQUIRREL that isn’t actually the distraction.

It’s the weekend. Click on the image, and notice the things that populate the corner of your eye.

Imagine, Re-Imagine the Strawberries

imagineNYCi’m imagining it again tonight

the mosaic tiles
in strawberry fields
in my ether
in the intersection
of idealist moonbeams
and #BlackLivesMatter marchers
swirling under the Manhatten hum [or is it a pulse?]
feeling the tranquility of the mosaic
despite being just steps from the Dakota.

i didn’t know then
but they wrote strawberry fields
in the weeks leading up to my birth.

even though it isn’t all about Me
it’s about relationships
in orphanages in England
among people around the Imagine
among the million marchers for…
what they imagine they want in our world.

i couldn’t see strawberry fields from the top top
of the Empire State Building that night
but i could feel it there
and i saw those buildings in midtown
with those glowstickandneonblurring parties
on the roofs
when i wondered whether the humpulse of the city
didn’t even intersect
with what we all
want need yearn fumble
to imagine.

when i count the lives that matter
the people who need to breathe
the kids in hoodies
and the kettling, suffocating police state
tightening around us,
i need to count
each and all of you
who are also trying to imagine

i want to build the cairn, the Inukshuk
on top of the Imagine mosaic
to be the fluid testament
to/for/with all those who drift on by
or stop in remembrance.

but you need to meet me there first.

Paused Gravity

Paused Gravity

The silent accord
Between the tidal bore
and the falling backward
Off the cliff

The fire red maple leaf
Giving up clinging
to the twig
Which itself is about to be blown off
by the frigid gusting November wind

Trying to stand perfectly still
On the moss
On the edge of the field
On the corner of now and whenever forward
Aware of the dew settling in
on the top of toes

And the the moon appears
from behind the cloud
Shaped like the teddy bear
Of childhood daydreams
Lying on the lawn of the top field at school
With the three best friends who’d never leave you


The Robocop Remake Skips its Elysium Class Warfare Moment

Don’t bother with the Robocop remake. The original–campy, sensationalized, mildly intolerable–still succeeds in one key element: examining class warfare.

You’d think that in an era of post-2008, the 1% being called out as contemptuous greed-mongerers and the Occupy Movement, that a Robocop remake would examine in a contemporary frame, the class divide that reflected Detroit in the future, as told by the 1987 dystopic lens.

But no. My friends, I have seen the new Robocop so that you don’t have to.

The new one skips these things:

  1. Detroit actually having gone bankrupt.
  2. Huge wealth bifurcation.
  3. Massive class conflict.
  4. Garish pop culture.
  5. Depraved consumerism.

Elysium, on the other hand, happily embraces massive class conflict on a gritty and human level. It succeeds where the Robocopy fails.

So you should do this: re-watch the original Robocop, watch Elysium, and skip the Robocopy. Ultimately, the remake, which is free of class analysis, is simply designed to fluff us into greater obedience.

Let’s Not Ban Books, Kamloops

Perks of Being a Wallflower
Ban me? Burn me? Fear me?

OK, Kamloops, take a cool soothing breath while I take a short break today to not talk about the rebooting of the Occupy Movement in 8 days.

I know most of you in The Loops are doing just fine and that most of you are OK with literature, including that which challenges our comfort zone. After all, we revere Shakespeare and he was a crude, vulgar dude, when he wasn’t being extraordinarily profound.

But if you actually go through the process of banning The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the whole world of thinking people will begin an almost eternal #SlowClap unlike you’ve never seen:

Continue reading Let’s Not Ban Books, Kamloops

Memoir from Antproof Case by Mark Helprin

My book recommendation for 2014. Enjoy; you’ll either love it immensely immediately, or it will do nothing for you and you’ll put it down. Another of his books, Winter’s Tale, with a pleasantly stellar cast, is coming out as a movie on Valentine’s Day.

Here’s my brief review:

Antproof = Catch-22 + Catcher in the Rye

This is my favourite book. I read it every few years when I conclude a chapter/phase of my life. It is a grounding, a joy, a re-connection with what I know to be reliably entertaining, releasing, meaningful and irreverent. I’ve lent my copy to about a dozen friends. All but two have loved it and devoured it briskly. The other two just didn’t get into its peculiar sense of fluidity.

via Memoir from Antproof Case: Helprin

Merry Christmas!

Photo: A helpful reminderI’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and/or the joy and warmth of the holiday season. Make 2014 a year of more love, more compassion, more sharing and more service.

Three things to mark this day:

  1. Some pictures. Here are 75 amazing pictures from 2013.
  2. Some more pictures. Here are 100 of the best street are photos from 2013.
  3. A political picture. Some thing about Israel.

    Another brick.