I am over here cobbling an multi-disciplinary art submission, stitching together various assertions & high-spirited lunges about my aesthetic vision & artistic provisions, often culled from previous plops done here on this blog. For this week's post, I thought it useful to place it here.
Looking out at the juniper bush coughing through winter, my mind burps an old bit of Kenneth Koch’s poetry, an epigraph for my work heading into this new decade--“I have a knocking woodpecker in my heart and I think I have three souls / One for love one for poetry and one for acting out my insane self.” When new folks find out I am a poet, high-energy camo-clad hick that I am, they often present perplexed eyebrow-raising plus the question, “How did you become a poet?” It starts with peering, which, I have come to realize, is kind of a rural thing, “just looking at stuff,” as my dad says.
Many of my ancestors’ / elders’ activities promote the importance of seeing (& thus, pondering)--farming, fishing, hunting, porch-sitting, building stuff, etc. As a whippersnapper, I would ride atop a pillow in the passenger seat of my dad’s semi-truck to peek at what we were passing, what we passed over. He taught me at an unusually young age the difference between the solid yellow lines & its dotted brethren, a lesson that backfired, what with me stringing together calls of “don’t pass, don’t pass, don’t pass” with “okay, you can pass now” for hours on end.
I have always floated on a curiosity in how others witness the world & how to gain more perspective & further goodness out of my own living from such methods. My dad sees the world through the movement around him, be it from the perch of his eighteen-wheeler, his recliner, or his deer stand, & he compartmentalizes & retains it through humor & storytelling. My mother’s literal vision was “the worst non-legally blind person in town,” I remember the local optometrist once declared; where her eyes lacked, my mother’s spirit extends very strongly, passionately, with love & frustration, protestation & faith alike.
I am reminded of Donald Revell’s assertion that “[t]he poem’s trajectory is an eyebeam, not an outline.” It is not the linear construction of that vision, but rather how our natural selves go forth & bring back what is found. My good buddy, Toby, a person who is blind, utilizes sight words like “I saw this play” or “He looks really cute;” which jarred me at first, but through his perspective, I have come to appreciate the expanse of vision that life renders us. Regardless of our literal ability to see, each of us finds our own method of envisioning our world through our other senses, through our emotions, through the stories of others, & through our collecting mind.
My high school art teacher was the only person that ever gifted me a failing grade, & you know what, I deserved it, me over there trying to fake my way into a realistic conch shell. Thanks to The Surrealists & The New York School, I later learned the power of collage, both in words & in visuals--the cutting & pasting, the collecting & combining, the piecing & the puzzling. In life, I am forced to witness angles & visions, perspectives & delusions, otherwise left for the wind--what the subconscious throws, what the unconscious uncovers, what dreams deliver, & what my delusions skew. Thus, the gut of me is lined with work that is polyvocal, collage-like, & disjunctive, what some might call dissociative & what I call the manner in which I witness the world.