Artist’s Statement

You say “people want to know what they’re looking at.”
Do they not recognize a vortex?
A smudge?
Is a barely discernable zigzag
Greek to them?
These, no less than fruit bowls
and sunsets, are card-carrying members
of the visual.
Gone are the days
of outsiders wizening in garrets,
nerve-damaged from pigments and booze.
These days the masters of color-blending and scrawl
commandeer the corner studio, pulling down top dollar.
Six or seven figures?
They could tell you
if they had a head for numbers.
But numbers are just shapes.
Cowboys of blotch make wholesome role-models for flailing youth.
Lost at sea? Let art be your lifeboat, paintbrush your paddle!
Do it your way—who says the horizon has to be horizontal?
It’s true, some will always flock to the church of sailboat,
sad clown, sunlit grove.
Let them go. Now is not the time to lead them to the light,
the dark, or the gray scale. For do they not keep
the houses of art supply afloat with their greed
for gloss varnish and cadmium red?
Represent away, reality slaves!
Be the background color, the dull substrate,
the giant unknowing rent-paying tortoise
lumbering through the universe
upon whose back we frolic
and forget how to draw.