Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Scream Heard As A Whisper

"Fortunately for us Van [Morrison]'s romantic bliss didn't last too long." - Joe Smith, President of Warner Brothers Records

Art is nothing more
than the humanizing of divine engines.

There's beauty in what appears to be loss,
a blanket instead of the girl

and truth in what appears to be hidden,
the betrayal of lovers before their children.

Morality protects one from self-doubt
but it is an illusion,
art tells us,
the eccentric opposite of what we're told to do
might be the only glimmer of sanity we have.

3 comments:

erin said...

william, the mind must bend to hold this one but i'm not sure how pliable mine is and so i try, instead, to slowly hold one thing at a time. with this i am still at your opening:) here i see three variables, art, humans and the divine engine and i can't seem to get any farther. i feel as though we are the canvas.

love the next two lines about the girl and the blanket)) but you turn me again,

and then again,

and then in the last stanza you pull some poetic ripcord and i know my dizziness is our own making, our construction of illusions, and art our salvation.

xo
erin

WAS said...

I welcome the opportunity to rise to the challenge you created for me, Erin (that's the best part of other people reading your stuff, IMHO). To me the poem is perfectly rational and linear, but then to me the poem is agonizingly personal, with most if not all of the incriminating details left out. The long and short of it is my survey of the wreckage of my marriages, more specifically, as the introductory quote suggests, the inverse relationship between (for want of better terms) my marital success and artistic/poetic success. The first stanza is the calm historic answer given by the muses for the purpose of art with all its destructions: it brings the divine into human form and human understanding. The rest of the poem is me trying to understand how that could be so. Art could be defined as beauty (stanza two), where I saw in a moment that I thought was humiliation for me a moment of grace where I could, in the words of Elvis Costello, "make lover's lane safe again for lovers" by rising above my own needs for companionship and seeing how others couple; or art could be truth (stanza three) where what I thought was a moment of grace (the fact that the kids knew nothing about the shit their parents were putting each other through) was in fact a moment of humiliation, for the kids knew at a much deeper level than we tell ourselves rationally is possible. And therein lies my first clue, that this so-called morality may be part of the problem (stanza four): we stay with people, bite our lips, do our duty, settle for less than what our spirit demands because of social mores, but that's not the real reason, its only there to keep us from shame. Only art has the guts to tell us that, it puts no value on conventional morality at all. At this point I get the purpose of art: to commit to its dictate to go against any flow that denies our inherent Godly worthiness is a call for true sanity, because it aligns us with a higher sphere humans are otherwise terrified of; art thus is the way we can merge the sky and and the earth.

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