Beauty and Madness: A Meditation on Pygmalion and Galatea

Look I wrote a thing back when I was a teenager

pudding shot

Originally published in the College of William and Mary’s Acropolis Art Magazine’s 2012 issue

What creates what, the creation or the creator? The division between the artist and their work blurs like that cold winter morning Michelangelo died over his canvas, spattered in paint. To create is madness, an inner drive that too often is inexplicable. Art has no immediate benefit: it will not clothe or feed you. Yet we create to express ourselves, to convey ideas words cannot capture.

There is something in art that is Lovecraftian: grand, majestic, and horrifying. From William Blake’s impossible figures to the Dadaist’s upside-down urinal, art often seems tainted by madness. Sometimes it proves a point, other times it is elusive. Is traditional art an anachronism in an age when man should have surpassed crushed pigments and the horsehair brush? Some debate its utility. But an impulse, perhaps divine, always drives us back…

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¿Quieres Mojito?

In which my brother drinks mojitos the wrong way.

Sueños de Viajes

Greetings, Brethren!  I hope you’re all as excited for this upcoming cult update, I mean blog post, as I am!  In recent news, our Most Glorious Leader went to Barcelona this weekend, where he not only watched an authentic Barcelona soccer game, but, in a completely unrelated series of events, got hit in the chest by a rouge soccer ball while drinking a mojito on the beach. As such, the parable he has drawn from this encounter is: French kids really need to learn how to kick soccer balls effectively. Also, make sure they actually put rum in your mojito before you buy it.

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In other news, while in Barcelona he attempted to initiate a new member into his cult (unsuccessfully), so as of now he is still the only member. More updates soon to come.  All Hail Lord Will.

End of Transmission

So, minus the fact that I started…

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I Don’t Believe It

“Stand up. Our kind never kneels.”

Well maybe you don’t know how to worship:

All you do is take what isn’t yours, never giving
a piece of yourself to your caged birds, you
called me your yellow canary in a coal mine.

I’m not a dying bird in a shaft.

I’m nothing like the color yellow.

Your metaphors were always stupid.

“Grow a spine. Softness will kill you.”

I’m nothing like what you think me –

fragile, coal to be pressured into diamond
I knew how to shine long before you came along
that’s what drew you in, anyways, you prey off
golden girls and giving hearts, greedy, starving.

I am a sun and you are nothing but ash.

One day, soon,
I’ll burn you.

Don’t expect to heal like I do.

“We all have stains. Even you.”

You may be rotting, but I don’t believe in sin
just chance, being in the wrong place, bad luck.
You, who had everything, rejected beauty –
you rule over desolation like it’s some badge.

But I was born in blackness, not light.

I clawed my way out screaming from ghosts.

My only stains are the bruises you give me.

“You sprang from my heart. We’re the same.”

No.

I’m not a black storm,
I don’t rage like the wind:
mercurial, mad, monstrous.

That’s you.

I reject every label you give me.

My name is ineffable, holy.

You will never pronounce it.

You wouldn’t even understand.

“Without me, you’ll wither – you’re mine.”

Yet here I am, over two decades later
a veteran of all your projections, survivor
of the disease that is you. Maybe I can’t
conquer the intangible, but someday?

I’ll make you beg.

Make you beg forgiveness
for every abuse.

Make you plead mercy as you relive
all the terror you dealt me, every
torn limb and plucked flower.

Someday I will be old and you will be young.

Someday you will stop telling me what I am.

Someday I’ll figure out how to leave you.

Temptation of Christ

Yeshua stripped in the desert
was Caravaggio weaving light
out of shadow, lamb in sin.

Satan crept up like nettles
clothed in asps and dirt
for God cursed Him to be wild.

(They both ask why He abandoned
his brightest Morning Stars)

They spoke under vulture circles –
for a moment, for days, for ages
Satan beguiling, imploring, He begged.

Yeshua was comely, pure even in
desolation, but still He wept
with pity for the First Son,
knowing Himself the
Second Coming.

Both bear crosses, both wear
brier roses, each a Savior
and victim, each longing
for a taste of His Light.

The Quietest Thing

The thing they don’t tell you about saints
is that they are gardeners, tending budding
prayers, cutting shoots of dream-whispers
in the fields at the heart of Heaven.

Michael, whose sword is crack-glass sharp
turns his blade to trimming, dressed in jeans
and a button-down, not his usual armor, for
though a warrior, he is also salt of the earth.

The archangel likes ivy-choked roses the best-
those are secrets of the heart, so tender
they only blossom when lovers meet. He takes
a question in his hand and coaxes it to bloom:

“Does God want me to be alone? Will I
always feel this marrow-quiver pain?”

The archangel gives the rarest of smiles,
leans down to whisper into the petals,
his saffron-thread hair the same shade,
his lips part, he plucks it, then answers:

“No. Love is like my Father, it
trickles like rain into soil, it
feeds starving souls, love lays in
cradles and gutters, look at grass,
look at hummingbirds, look to heaven.”

“He is there, He will bandage
every ache you feel, staunch
the hardness of your heart.”

“Love comes like a beggar to a table
when you’re least expecting Him.”

“Love is the quietest of things.”