i awake from deep slumber with thoughts of yesterday’s sadness still raw in my heart and mind. the song break it down again comes to me here in the red light of a cold morning. the weight of what it means to be an aging artist invisible after years of work and where-what now to put my energy towards leaves me curled up in a ball. i have no answers. and yet there is something i think in not becoming overwhelmed by giant thoughts. break it down again. the big picture sometimes just gets bigger and bigger until it floods the senses and leaves me paralyzed by the unknown. break it down again. what are the bits and pieces of a satisfied life. what do i act on. no more sleepy dreaming. break it down again. this is more than success, ego, or legacy. i do not seek the spotlight, but i also am tired of toiling in the shadows. what is my forum. is it time for me to dim, or to burn bright with compassion, to fade into love for the other and leave my dying dreams behind. where can i find in me the beauty of decay.
Two days of fishing in ponds which in the past have yielded a plethora of large mouth bass have so far provided one small fish a few inches bigger than the lure it struck and a great amount of snarled-line, algae-covered frustration.
Faith flees in a flash when one’s constant casts come up empty. Some invisible angler has come here on the sly and stolen all of the big ones. The algae have caused a catastrophic fish kill. The fish are gorged on spring peepers. Regardless the reason, the bass do not bite my line and run with it. I cast and receive only fears.
These ponds are my artist life currently; full, but surrendering no swimmers. Yet I hear the voice of Ovid: “Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish.”
I have a choice, but not really, so with aching arm and burning brain, I continue to cast.
April 17, 1998
How does one figure out this thing called Life?
You would think I would have an idea by this time but I really don’t have a clue. I’ve got so many voices bouncing around in my head with ideas of what I should or should not be doing that I can’t decide which is the truth and which is just some echo from some self help book or advice column I read somewhere down the line.
I am inundated with inundations. I run around like a chicken with its head cut off, scratching at something here and scratching at something there, crossing things off my list, but at the end of the day, I am strangely dissatisfied. Did I do what really mattered today? Did it mean something? Did it move the world or me towards a more positive place? Did I laugh? Enjoy a special someone? Or was it just another day of blindly scratching in the dust? Trying to find that long lost head to reconnect to a purpose, to be whole again?
The worst part is the confusion. I try to share and wind up getting nowhere. I speak words but they have no meaning. I give and cannot receive enough. I offer myself and get used up. I try to express what I need and I cannot. When I seek to bring things to life, I am impotent.
So the end is here. I used to think the end was simply another beginning. We will see. It may just be the end. At least these ramblings are at an end. For now.
i am a shell of who or what I once was
sucked dry by the past’s creativity
walls adorned with art painted 20 years ago following me from one residence to the next like fading memories
hard drive and heart filled with songs and dreams recorded yet unreleased Langston’s birds with broken wings
journals of endless musings
runes of my becoming
yellowing with age
what I do now seems to falter beneath the weight of what I have done
known only by me
and a precious few
who seem so surprised by the truth
the responsibilities of today
the roles I am forced to play somehow block the artist I am from view
i climb your stares like an overweight guest
the effort and this present leave me breathless
“And he gained favor with both . . .”
These ancient words I quoth
Caused some mysterious seed to grew
Mind travel down to hand renew
Jerk and bounce to rhythm and blue
And Elvis and Cash and Mozart too
Creations, revelations, orations, vocations
Inscriptions, descriptions, restrictions, citations
Sensations, elations, relations, oh stop!
Babblings, dabblings, in a bumbling bebop
Stirring stipends of a sticky, stoney stew
Return and the “bing” to the third line “grew”
People pleasured smile pat me on the back
Works piling up clouds a grandiose stack
A monument moaning midst mighty mounds
Pride inner gloating glip could bring it crashing down
And I wonder, yes I ponder, the most peculiar state
Of a man who is gifted, rifted, irate
A sort of Midas touch in a noncorrosive gold
I did not ask nor does it lie in some memory cold
Sold, old, road, why chose it to abode
In this vessel of such an irksome mold
Seems to happen, snap in, where’ere I lay my finger
Hand, plan, brand, I seem to score a ringer.
Though if to the wells of seventeen succumb
The fate of Midas will be mine own outcome
Friends shall quick frozen, strangers melt and ran
Ah! The search continues, issues, as to
The moving of this hand.
August 23, 1989
I stand on the threshold of the New Renaissance and it is a great temptation to move rather than wait for the clarification of the vision.
So often, too much action, any activity without clarification, is misinterpreted as movement toward the goal rather than an exercise in futility.
The blur of motion satisfies for a moment the pent-up energy and excitement generated by the first glimpses of the sight.
But waiting hones the edge of the fire so that with the coming clarity the bladed flame is sharper and ever so hot.
November 11, 1996