The War of Art (poem)


Dear Reader,

Something you may be unaware of
is the way the various genres
within each of the arts closely resemble
religious movements, established or new.

You see, from the artist’s point of view,
if one is to devote so much of one’s time
to a particular set of principles or theories,
one simply cannot afford to be egalitarian,
unless, perhaps,
for the sake of political correctness.

The belief that “this approach is better
or more worthy than that approach,”
along with the passion to express it,
is all that will get the artist through
the many long vigils and collateral damage
it may do to them over the long term.

An artwork may be thought of
as a message which, decoded, will read

It is the artist’s belief that a work of art
ought to be constructed thus.

Whether or not the audience agrees,
the artist’s faith will continue to sustain itself
by means of the art-making ritual.

Just because it’s popular,
doesn’t mean it’s worthier.

The recognition of peers and critics,
while desirable, is not a prerequisite
for moral victory.

I draw your attention to this,
only so that you may become aware
that there is indeed
a constructive way to wage war,
an impersonal way to make love,
and a secular method through which
the finer feelings may continue
to be enlivened, or dare I say,


UNDOING (poem)

Feeling unmotivated;
that is, decidedly motivated
to not be motivated,
or to be without motive.

The curtains and window latches before me
are also caught up in this weird paradox.

Together, we have formed
our own little fraternity of inaction.

On any other day,
the Cabbage Tree outside
might have been welcome
to join us at this drab
agenda-less conference,
but this morning
it has the easterly on its side.

Observing its leaves
bouncing up and down,
I’m reminded of a concert pianist’s fingers
and experience that same kind of envy
for the enthusiasm they embody,
as well as the years of dedicated practice
which they exhibit.

– No.
Say the curtains and window latches,
– The tree can’t be part of the club.
And you, with this writing lark,
well, let’s just say,
you’re pushing the envelope, mate.


Nothing Worthwhile (poem)

Today began
the very same way
as so many before.

I climbed out of bed
only in order to prevent
the voice of shame
becoming voluminous
to the point
where its echo,
might annoy me
for the duration
of daylight’s evil.

After having dragged my body
through its hygiene routines
and subjected my mind
to each despicable chore,
I found myself,
surprise, surprise,
in that all-too-familiar
humourless, unmotivated state.

– What should I be doing?

– How about writing?

– There’s nothing worth writing.

– Go out for coffee,
and after half a cup,
you’ll write,
believe me.
You’ll write about
nothing worthwhile
with such zeal
that those around you
sitting and chatting
with their partners,
children, or friends
(about nothing worthwhile)
will look at you and wonder
just what the hell
is worth working away at
so feverishly
on such a leisurely
Saturday morning.