Thursday, December 30, 2010

this is just to say. (with apologies to William Carlos Williams).

(second draft).

(the first draft is here)

this is just to say
i have eaten all the pickles
that you gave me
which filled a tall mason jar
which i had thought to save
for picnics with friends
at the beach
or on the living-room floor
sliced into an egg salad
or guarding a cheese plate
but instead i ate every last one
straight from the jar
they were so cold and crisp
and briny
and delicious.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

state of the arts.

I remember listening to the radio, or perhaps watching public television, when I was little. At the end of the program - which one, I can't quite remember - a voice would say something like "This program, and so much more, is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts." It sounded important. Later I understood that this meant it was funded by government money, and that sometimes the government preferred to spend its money on other things besides art, like war.

I grew up with art. We went to museums and plays and dance performances and the symphony. I took ballet and made crooked clay pots and watercolor paintings in art class. This grew into an interest in photography, encouraged by my parents, which continues to this day. Quite recently I came across a poem by the artist Tim Etchells (the entire poem is here) in answer to the question "What can art do?" His response has been echoing in my mind again and again for days now.

'You asked what art can do

I wanted to write you that it

can make a spark flames

and a puddle ocean

a river tears

a room a world

a cry song


I meant to write you that art

can close a wound

and open a legal case

that it can stare further than a telescope

go faster than Internet and

beat like a loved one's heart


I wanted to tell you that art is loved as a hammer

because of how well it breaks lies and speaks truths

knocks down obstacles


And in case anyone is wondering, art is not a servant of any government

nor of any policy, nor of touristicism

nor a servant of money

nor an icing on a cake


That's what art can do.

And people should be careful with it.

Otherwise they may wake up one day and have to live alone

With no hammer of change, no truth, no laughs,

No bringing together or wondering apart

With no reflections, no possibility to reflect

Just living alone with only their ghosts and their ideologies muttering at them.'