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Thursday, October 22, 2015

It Will All Make Sense Someday (with #BehindTheBlogger)

Off and on all this long, long day
I have been thinking of this past friend
Who has the same first name as I do
I suppose he still has it
Haven’t seen hide nor hair of him in years
He could be dead
But then
He would still have his name
As one does

He’s a for-real athlete, this guy, why
One year he even played pro soccer
(or football, as they call it, where he played)
It’s one of the many ways we’re different, he and I
For I am nobody’s idea of an athlete
Whatever the sport may be called
But we were friends
And sometimes when you’re with a friend
You can see something with that friend’s eyes
The only soccer match I ever bothered watching
Was with him

One day, suddenly, he filled his apartment with books
I said man, if you read all these books…
You will be a legitimate intellectual!
Whereupon he took down a book
And proceeded to prove to me, to his own satisfaction
That intellectual did not mean what I thought it meant
I remained unconvinced
He’s a concrete thinker, he is, so to him you see
A word has correct meanings and you know them or you don’t
Whereas I am more of the school that words can mean…
Whatever we agree that they mean. That’s what they convey anyway
Like if I say
That round, checker-patterned do-hickey
And we both know I mean the soccer ball there
Then ‘do-hickey’ means ‘soccer ball’ for us
Though that’s not what the books say ‘do-hickey’ means
If ‘do-hickey’ is to be found in the books at all

We saw art differently too
I clearly recall, one fall afternoon, what now – nine years ago?
I had fallen into a mania, hadn’t slept for days, was utterly absorbed
In art-making
I was taking
Huge sheets of clear contact paper
Laying them out on the floor
And sticking to their sticky sides scraps and clippings
From magazines, papers, brochures, mail circulars…
Images and words, chunks of color… a lot of blood-red
I was collaging
The art of pastiche
So deep into that afternoon, he came to my door unannounced
Worried, not having heard from me in a week or two
And when he witnessed my mad, manic mess of collages
All over the floor and walls
He cried out, “Goddamn!” (and he is a religious man)
“What is this?! What the Hell do you think you’re doing?!”
To which I replied, “It is art! I am making art!”
“This isn’t art!”
“Why not?” I asked
“Because it isn’t beautiful!”

Him saying that, that it wasn’t art if it wasn’t beautiful
Is why I have been thinking of him today

For I have just recently fallen in with some poets
As I have been moved to make poetry again
I have sought them out, these poets
And they have shared some of their work with me
And it is beautiful, almost all
Beyond doubt: beyond what I think, beyond what you think
Beyond the eye of the beholder, these are beautiful words
‘The nacre of morning’… ‘The nadir of their love affair’…
Beautiful images, sentiments, beautifully put, beauty beauty beauty
Until I do not know what beauty means

Except that this, this is not that
There is no nacre, no nadir here
Meter nor rhyme
Nor nothing

Will they need to be kind, presented with my pages?
Will they shake their heads and sigh and shy away?
Will they say of this as my long-ago same-name friend said
Of the ugly collages crowding my little apartment
“This isn’t art!”


But they will see
My words and ideas jerking along like so many ill-made robots
Against the fluid motions of their own elegant creations

Perhaps they will say, some of these poets whom I admire
“This piece simply isn’t for me.”
Sure they will, sure they will… and that’s okay
People can have different tastes
And still be friends
It will all make sense someday

My friend I didn’t see many times after that
At a bar one night some months later, where we happened both to be
He took me to task for being stupid drunk
And I had wit enough left, just, slurringly to explain
That getting stupid was my very reason for getting drunk

After that, I heard that he was mastering swing dance
And had become a full-fledged major heart-throb hunk
Then I heard he was engaged to be married, but that she broke his heart

And after that, nothing more

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  1. I was engrossed in your words. It will all make sense. I feel the two of you were some type of soul mates - paths meant to cross for a lesson in trade perhaps. Perhaps he has learned more from you than you will ever know. I hope you too have learned from him. If so then isn't that sense of it enough? I would like to believe so. I think that you are right to have stood your ground, art is subjective, but I would also argue that intellect is as well. To be he sounded to be ignorant at times. Such is life I suppose. You are amazing! Keep writing, keep creating, keep dreaming!

  2. I love the way you put this together! It's hard sometimes when views clash so much, but it does sound like you learned a lot from the time that you spent together (and I'd like to think that he did as well)!


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