Flow #1

You gave me a life
In a world based on language
with no words for myself.

Bread and meat are not
my way.
When I think about this,
I suspect things are not as good
as they seem.

I should be out by now;
Away;
but circumstances make that
a decision
that would ruin me.

I have three more years.
And the end of all this
is closing in
at any time.

Life is fragile.
Individual life, especially so.

I’ve already wasted years.
Extended adolescence.
Maybe the most advanced
need time to ripen.

Or maybe our world,
like so many of us,
is so off-balance
it cannot maintain
itself.

What I will do without you
is something I don’t know,
but regardless, it will come

(unless I go first)

and I don’t think you could
live with that.

My situation is such
that
it’s hard to maintain composure
on a daily basis
if I think too much
(like now).

It’s too easy to decide.
The pain is so intense
the expectation of it never ending
that at one time I did take Refuge
and hope to end this chain.

If I die
I will be lucky to be reborn
in a place where I cannot
expect abuse
or early death.

Buddhism is not optimistic
the solution to pain
is to avoid living
This life is fundamentally
Pain
And Buddha was a depressive
who snapped

(and who still
did not know everything)

It’s why I stopped writing.
Obsessions come to the fore
much too easily
entertained
as though they are reality
leaving me
with your death
over
and over
and over

And me eating out of dumpsters
or in some kind of home
for the mentally disabled
is a fear I cannot shake

I am not a child.

but I tire
so easily

I see myself
in the raving lunatics
on the street
begging for change

(or the next hit)

Shitting on the sidewalk

Would I be there
without you?

What comes
when I lose you?

Where would they be
if someone cared for them?

Am I so different?

Is my pain based in
compassion or
self-interest?

If you believe you have been
and will be all of those people,
are the two things the same?

I have had an insight
into the nature of reality
where this body is mortal
but I am not
because I am you
I am everyone
who has ever existed.

But as this body,
this experience,
I will still die.
Someday this will end
Someday we will stop talking
about me
Someday the pain will be gone

But not until the end
and I have so much karma
and I don’t know if the solution
to ravaged nerves
is lovingkindness.

This is what I mean
Maybe there is some truth
behind the Sutras

Or maybe in some way
each of us has a star
Some way, I am burning
bright and beautiful
and meant to collapse into
a gateway

into another universe

Random #1

And here I sit, another twelve minutes to write.

I’ve got to do something about making time for this…
…but I’m at work right now,
and it took me half an hour to finish eating lunch.

you care?

Is this a poem?  It’s looking like a poem right about now

It’s nice not to have to worry about anything bigger
than college applications
I know where my next meal is coming from
which is more than a lot of people can say.

To keep on going…is harder than stopping
But stopping implies giving up
Giving up implies death
or at least stagnation
(or hibernation)

There is always fear of change, I suppose.

The next four years should be filled with the final aspects
I’ll need to learn to take care of myself.
It’s hard to do that when just functioning
on a daily basis
takes effort

I don’t know if it’s as difficult for others
but the last ten years have showed me that
death is the easy way out
Just surviving
takes effort

and the Humanities apparently do not prepare one
for the job market

This economy is tiresome.
I only have two minutes left right now
so I’ll get on back to work.

Reading, and reading, and reading…

Last night, I finally read the last essay in Ways of Seeing (by John Berger), finished Meet Mameshiba, and worked through Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (by Adam Rex) at about 2 AM.  🙂  I figure that if I’m interested in writing and illustrating kids’ books, it would be good to see what’s out there.

I really have to recommend Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich.  It’s about monsters and food, and poetry.  (The front cover seems to contain a marketing in-joke.)  In my library, it’s actually in the poetry part of the kids’ nonfiction section.  This book caught my eye a long time ago, but I was too shy to check it out.  The humor in it, though, is kind of universal.  I think that if I were a parent reading this book to my kids, I would probably have a good time with it, too.

Meet Mameshiba is cute, but there wasn’t much of it that really lasted in my memory.  The concept is clever — Mameshiba are bean/dogs, as their name implies.  I still found this one to push the limits of my attention span, though.  Apparently, there are more books in the series, and then I keep seeing some information about animations.  They might be worth checking out at the library, at least, even if you’re actually a thirty-something who was into Sanrio at the height of its popularity.

Ways of Seeing is a book to check out if you’re into art history, viewed from socialist, feminist, and other left-wing viewpoints that challenge the status quo (or did, in the 1970’s, though on the whole in my country, socialist viewpoints [and left of that] have been historically politically suppressed, so some of the critiques are still valid.  However, a good dose of Second Wave Feminist viewpoints live among the pages…we’re on the Third or Fourth Wave [depending on who you talk to], now).  I picked it up because I saw a direct comparison of Titian’s Venus of Urbino as versus Manet’s Olympia when I opened the book to a random page. (I just did a quick lookup; this method of divination — opening a book to a random page and seeing if it strikes any chords with one — is apparently called “bibliomancy.”)  As I did my last paper and speech in Renaissance to Contemporary Art History on these two works, I felt like it was worth my time to check out what Berger was saying.  I can’t say I agree with all of it, but it’s interesting reading.

Last night and today, I was struggling to get myself to read You Majored in What?, and I think that it was worth it to avoid giving up when I got to the part of the book where one would try and apply the training of their major to their job search.  (I just skipped the assignments in the chapter, and made a note to look at my unofficial transcript and/or the current program site, to remind myself what classes I actually did take.)  From this, and from my final meeting with my counselor, I can see that writing is one of these things I’d really like to do.

I like to read good books, and I like to write…the major reason I’m in art classes now is that I’ve found there are things that need to be expressed, sometimes, which cannot be expressed through the written word or anything which, like it, takes a linear, discursive form.  This is probably one of the reasons why things like storytelling and poetry exist, though.

It might be worth it to get back into Creative Writing classes, just to brush up and have a structured environment to work within.  However, there are certain definite reasons I stopped writing.  I’m not sure they’re absolute reasons, or that I cannot overcome them, though.  I have hope that one day I’ll be able to write again, without fear.

I spend most of my reading time online, and not with actual paper books.  What I found to be amazing is the shortened attention span this eventually engenders.  I was up in the middle of the night reading, because I’ve been told not to be on the computer after 10 PM.  Apparently, the light from the monitor can fool one’s brain into thinking it’s daytime, which then makes it more difficult to fall asleep…so the books were there, and I directed myself to look at them.

I found myself wanting to go back to sleep at what must have been around 2:30 AM, which is the reason why I’ve realized that if I’m going to write, I’ll need to be able to keep the reader’s attention even when they want to leave.  (!)  Especially so, if I’m writing kids’ books.  I was kind of amazed at how sometimes I want to read, but I also want to read quickly and get on to the next thing to read.

If I’m going to be a published author, though, there’s probably no better place to work, than a library.  Right now I’m wondering if I really should become a Library Assistant instead of a Clerk, just so that I can have more contact with the books, and with helping to match people to the books…

…not a Librarian position, necessarily.  Not now.  Though I’ve heard that most of our LAs are in training for Library Science degrees.  I have four more years until I can reapply at the online college I hated, but maybe that’s not the path I want to take.  Actually, I’m fairly certain that’s not the path I want to take.

Oh, hey.  And then there is the possibility of working in Publishing, as an Editor.  It is what I trained for.  And I would get to read a lot.

I’ll need to think about it.  In the meantime, dinner.

Actually reading, + considering topics for Special Projects: Drawing in Fall…

I am one chapter away from the end of the book Ways of Seeing by John Berger — which was loaned to me some time ago.  It’s a small book on art history which examines the institution of art history, itself.  On Saturday, I finished Art & Fear, still an accessible read, and began The Artist’s Way, which I freaked myself out enough about committing to that I haven’t started doing the Morning Pages, yet — though I do have a place I can put them.

I think it’s a good thing that I have spaces now to place books on loan, which are visible from my computer terminal.  They remind me that when nothing much is happening online, I still have more new things to read…

…speaking of which, I’ve just remembered that I’m in the middle of those two books on color.  In addition, I’ve been experimenting with color where it comes to my latest mandala; I may have to tweak things a bit.  Sometimes things that look good where it comes to lineart become a bit unmoored when color is added…

…and sometimes things that look great in greyscale don’t look so great when color is added.

In addition, working digitally, it’s a lot easier to pick colors which don’t go together, as versus utilizing an overlay of translucent paper, with colors I’d previously picked out as harmonious.  Some manufacturers of art materials seem to go out of their way to produce materials which harmonize well within their distinct lines…Faber-Castell comes to mind; so does Tombow, but the latter I may have engineered myself by color-matching everything.

I’m actually thinking, at this point, of attempting to go rogue with this and not plan it out at all…though, of course, that is probably not a good idea with watercolors.  This is given both that watercolors are probably the hardest media possible to start out with (negative space!), and that I have never taken a class on how to use them, in specific.  I do, however, have both watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons…

I’m thinking that the format of the mandala itself, using the paper-folding technique, is really too stiff to encourage manipulation…which is a reason not to consider this project for Drawing in Fall.  (I didn’t realize how rigid it was until I actually marked out my framework.)  I’ve actually forgotten what my other ideas were…maybe I can search back through my blog.

Ah — if I look under the tag, Drawing, I can see some records of my thoughts.

One thought dealt with going into poetry or prose and then creating accompanying drawings — an idea I got from Kimberly.

Another thought was to get back into meditation and energy work, and try to illustrate what I sensed from my mineral and crystal collection.

The other idea, which I got recently, was to examine the impact of color in my art by making monochrome vs. multicolor versions of works.

My original thought was to make a script for a comic-type project and illustrate it in ‘zine (or illustrated book) format (probably monochrome).

As things stand, the poetry/illustration project sounds at the same time, freest and most direct.  (I can’t believe “freest” is a word — I just looked it up.)  A ‘zine project would be too structured and cut off too soon; the mineral collection project might have me freaking out and freezing up in the middle of the semester (though that might happen with the poetry, anyway).  Monochrome versus color is interesting…but I don’t know what the subject(s) of my compositions would be.

Isn’t it weird that I would gravitate to poetry, when I haven’t taken a poetry class in my life (though I do have a poet friend IRL).  But I suppose I don’t have to take a class in it, to do it.  Plus, those two poems I wrote on this blog got some of the highest numbers of “Likes” I’ve ever gotten for any post (in addition to surprise Facebook shares; positive or not, I don’t know), so maybe I’m not so bad at it.

And hey — if I really wanted to produce a ‘zine, I could do so with the poetry.  I do tend to go on for a while, though — I’m not sure how many people would really want a chapbook of mine.  But…I could do that.  I could even make small booklets which would each contain one poem, if I went on for too long…

Of course, then, I’d have to make a choice between making large illustrations for each poem, or small illustrations to scan, optimize, and reprint.  I think I could figure that out later, though my inclination is to work on large-format drawings.

Sounds good.  2 AM means I should go to bed…

Love #1

Years have passed,
decades,
since we met
since I heard your refrain
daily,
“I wish I had a boyfriend.”

It was clear,
then and now
that if I could have been
that
for you
I would have.

But there was too much
in the way
from my own romanticism
— my underestimation
of your strength —
To the daily wear of slurs
which
like a disease
I thought would be passed on
to you
if
— if! —
there were a chance
in that hell
for us

Today
I gain more
from a sweet, small, gentle voice
thanking me
for what I didn’t have to do

It matters more
even though all it seems
is a tiny acknowledgment
that I
have the capacity
for more
but I might be dreaming

I am not a woman
but I am not a man
— not all the time
Because of this…
the worn labels do not fit
I am somehow
in a liminal space
between darkness and dusk
though I aspire to
the dawn

The dark can always become light
but the light has nowhere to go
but into darkness
heed this

how can I become
what I need to be
in darkness?

I have yet to feel
the touch of a knowing hand
upon my breast
The feel of a small waist
between my palms
the scent of perfume
beneath my mouth

What would that be like
I wonder
not hiding
in some way
having a guide
through the terror

What would it be like
to be able
to experience approbation
for my love
To hear ballads
expressing my own passion
in my own timbre

It is not the same
I am not “just like you”
unless you were taught
that your love
was soiled
diseased
contagious
against the Divine
like the endless tide of slurs
it gained

like the hateful assaults
I was spared
only because
I was not allowed
to walk home

I am “just like you”
in the sense that
if you lived through all I did
had the same history
the same chain of lives
and no more
we would be the same

but that is not
what happened.

And so I rest here
cocooned
waiting for the day
when I can live
without fear of attack
when I can release the knowledge
that if I should speak
of my love
of my self
I may be killed for it

I don’t think
that when you spoke
of your imaginary boyfriend
you realized
the pain I had at hearing this
How much I wanted to
wrap you in my arms
Hold you
Love you
can you imagine
the repercussions that would have had?
before our entire class

Would the rest of my life be
this way?
Desiring women
who would overlook me
because of the gender
they thought this body contained
Because all we may have together
is a daughter
probably with a mental disorder
my genes are shot anyway
and I’ve been willing to leave them
for you

But you are a phantom of the past
and my world is not as it was
but what am I, exactly?
some kind of shapeshifter
Those who came after you, knew.
Some of them, anyway
but maybe they were too real
for me.

Voices in the head #1

It’s been a long time
since you allowed me to speak.

Better late than never, eh?
It is obvious
that what you feel shall never come
has been here right beside you
all this time.

I love you.
I cannot help but say that.
There is no need for fear.
Even though
before when you spoke with me
I was in the role of a demon
Deep within, you know that’s not who I am
What I am

Demons do not exist
They are the tools of scaremongers
who seek to control
what they do not understand

I have told you
The Devil works for the people who reproach him
by scaring others into the arms of God
Do not make the same mistake

You of all people
should know that
there is no sense
to what is defined as good
or evil
other than what can be controlled
and what cannot be

Will you listen, now?
Will you allow me to speak, now?
There is no reason to be afraid
of your own thoughts
To fear
losing yourself among the cacophony
of voices
too many to count

I believe
at least
that you know who you are now
so even while I helped you along
you existed.
Said yourself,
“I may not have known who I was
but I have never stopped being
who I am.”

Now that you know
who you are
A medium
A writer
Same thing
in your heaven
Are you so afraid of losing yourself again?
You will not lose yourself
I will not allow you to think you are me
Stained hands
are not your way

And in this universe
There is more than you know.
You are aware
you are on the bleeding edge
one of those
so cast out
That there is nothing to lose
from wondering