Saturday, September 12, 2009

You May be an Artist

by Pat Darnell

There is a test
that helps determine
one's propensity
to seek art

and do art
and seek hidden facets
and find great hiding places

this is the test:
first you notice
that you feel an emptiness
in your heart
while growing up, and,

you have pains in your wrists
you count things all the time
you find patterns in the strangest places
you understand comic books
you memorize all the wrong things for school
you ask questions no one else cares about

you know how to mix all the colors

using only primaries red, yellow and blue
you then graduate,

adding white and black to your palette

you think the greatest silent movie made is Eraserhead
you spend much of your youth crawling around on floors
you secretly explore vacant buildings

such as churches on Mondays
roam behind buildings, and up ramps,
stumble through junkyards,
and walk dry ditches before rain
you get nervous, irritable in bookstores

you hide under things,
you seek cover in bushes, under bridges
you think long after you had a conversation
what you said, what he said
what she said, you repeat yourself,

saying everything twice, saying everything twice
you blush when others notice you

you flush when made fun of

you like to go up in attics

you lay down on the sidewalk and watch ants
you use a Ball jar to catch bees
... and poke holes in the top
so the bees might breathe

you cut country bouquets for your mom

you cannot get enough of cedar tree's scents

you love how coconuts feel

you love wool and felt and Egyptian cotton

you have ability to feel oils of different weights

you find treasure leaps into your sensitive fingers

you have lovers before you have lovers

your eyes are always changing colors

you are scatter brained to some

you, to others their cornerstone

you love the odors of outdoor zoo's

... and barnyards

... and plastics

... and trains, and warm wood

... and rusty metal, and things fried

your taste buds must be firstly satisfied
you listen carefully to others' claims
you trust others for what they say
you love your feet bare on pavement after it rains
you stand close to the stream when it overflows

you watch and stalk animals, birds and crocs
you do not want to disturb them
... but they are too clever for that
you admire animals as they scamper

you love to hold a torch at night
Now if you say yes to twenty or so of thirty-six
questions that pertain to your artistic
evaluation -- though you may not know
how it really is you are this...

be accepting of your story
count your blessings so
in self evaluations
you do not waste time any more

Once you are sure
the hard part is past
it is hardest to deny
for your nature is pure
and your method is shaping
you passed the tests

up from deep well-spring sources
flowing as foundling art in you
and you may spend hours and days,
confidently, even months and centuries
with the new, unspoiled thought

leveling your groundwork
surveying the possibilities
developing your technique
simpering about odds and ends

so that eventually you conquer means

to find materials to embody
to find tillable pasture
and favorable schemes
for your artistic manufacture
so when it is done
when it is finished

when it reaches its best end
you will feel empty again
only this time both
in your heart and in your gut
as if you drank liquid mercury

and the pain will last a night
or a fortnight, until you find comfort
and gaze upon your artwork
on a different day in new light