creative nonfiction

Honestly, If I Tamed The Wild Phthalo Wolf, What Makes You Think I Can’t Put Down These Sterile Thermonuclear Puppies?

Phthalowolf

Not much to say beyond the title. Men (mostly men, rarely women) my age are holding the earth hostage with 20th century mass death technology. Not one of them is made of more  virtue than I—Better bureaucrat, yes. Better fearer. Better mistruster. Better God or mother-hater. Better White supremacist. Better Chinese or Korean Supremacist. Better Indo-European, maybe even Dravidian supremacist, of course. But never a better man than me. Any military that holds these in arsenal is more than coward—it is degenerate evil. Logic for this kind of destruction is insane. So humanoids in or out of government who tacitly set aside madness for status begin their climb from a much lower level than I, and I hope, you too. Maybe they are what hell would be if it existed.

It truly is a world divided into us against them. Especially if “us” ever raised and loved a child. I tamed the phthalo wolf. I am better than all manufacturers and the combined militaries of nations that would serve this evil.

Kinetic mass annihilation is premeditated mass annihilation. People who are connected to these weapons need their noses forcefully pushed into their own Armageddon pile. Even our dear mother, uncle or son who collects a paycheck to perpetuate this madness. As a lowly painter I have become a higher human being than anyone who would allow a world to collect this much death power. There is a time to become arrogant in love and nurturing. I have arrived. I have more love for mankind than all nuclear nations combined.

And all I had to do was paint an imaginary green wolf.

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Saturday Morning Love Theme Now!

I Love You More Than Madness More Than Dreams Upon the Sea

“I Love You More Than Madness, More Than Dreams Upon The Sea” 2013. Acrylic on panel board, 64 x 48″

This is an old post and introduction to the book below. Please read it to save the earth from eating itself out of disgust at the human “progressive” trajectory.

From Leopold Courting Rose:

Leopold Courting Rose 2013

Why Love Letters?
Who is Leopold?

Curse this political world! Last month I signed up for a free online course in social psychology hoping it would sedate my inner anxiety fool, and get me thinking about other stuff besides doom and gloom. Over the past ten years or so I have let the wrong people in. Unknowns, rabble-rousers, political cry-babies. So much in my mind not of the family and clan has focused its attention on strangers and their woeful struggles. I deemed myself the silent Sally Struthers’ spokesperson for civil liberties (of others), individualism (of others again), and freedom without war and atrocity (others again and again).
Silly me. I have always been free to speak, individualistic more so than Henry Thoreau, and anti-war with an internal, red hot passion. Seeking it for others? Why? It already exists. Don’t tick off the King in a super economy, and one will be showered with gifts and glory unbeknownst to the Gods and emperors of yesteryear. I can speak or write any blasphemy under the sun as long as I can prove no child molestation. I can walk out this door and keep walking to Utah, provided I keep myself looking a cut above meth abuser. And war? Don’t need it. Don’t have to join up. There are millions of neglected children jonesing for a chance to be loved by anyone, even a sociopath sergeant or general. I am not one of these millions of fools. So why attempt to be their social pastor? Especially if I’m not getting paid for it? Amazing freedom in the western world. But little wisdom. Even though all religions and philosophies swear the latter leads to happiness. Our freedoms are apparent, and they have made us very sick in the mind. Nero, for all the power he possessed on a diminishing empire’s credit, was just an insane freak of nature like a Rupert Murdock or Barack Obama. Not happy. Never secure in love. Yet it seems all the non-political commoners dress up to be like them, and would become them if they won the lottery. The common men who stop to admire a jet ski on display at the mall, and the women who consider purchasing the latest issue of People magazine with a dead Patrick Swayze on the cover. These folks are certainly not happy in their ignorance, which is never bliss, but rather chimera. Also, wrong acceptance of careerism and its habits of middle age has blown our happiness path to smithereens. No wonder so many are plagued with regret and night sweats of bitterness.
So why did the political world move into my brain and push out the wisdom-to-be that I swear was thriving in my younger years? Maybe this course I am taking in psychology will shed light on the social/anti-social animal I have become. Maybe it will speak about first love or second love, the born again feeling that arises when energy is directed at discovery, and bliss becomes everyday reality through the auspices of blind love for another human being. Probably not. Love is never taken seriously at the college level (although every single university affiliate has fallen to its power). Still, I would think it a doctoral track more necessary to happiness that physics or English literature. What else needs to be discovered in order for the “good life” to be realized? John Donne’s snuff habit? Another dimension of reality that we’re told we can never see (perhaps heaven)? What specialization need we focus upon now that cholera can be defeated? Have we in the western nations not enough potable water, clothing, shelter and fuel? I would argue that all we lack is proper distribution of these necessities. And that can be fixed overnight by determined revolutionaries in love. Sack a congress lobbied to corruption with rotten tomatoes and “We are the World” mantras.
I think that this college course will uncover some awful truth about modern humanity. That is this: We eagerly make efforts to go against the grain of the heaven on earth existing before our very eyes. It will show by experiment that humanity has always been subject to groupthink and group censure, from caveman times to the atomic age, and that this was necessary as far as groups go. Geese form a “V” to fly south. People arrange a militia to fight other people who covet their stuff.
But we moderns have made the blunder of taking social conditioning way too far, and have ignored the wonders of love, art, and beauty, which in older times the royal classes gravitated towards in their grateful acceptance of good fortune. Who in Jacksonian Democracy could foresee an Iphone with every volume entitled “me” in its Library of Congress-sized memory reading room? What Japanese noble of the Kamakura Period would not mutilate his own bowel after realizing he forsook his only son’s wisdom education for a shiny red Ford F350?
Unfortunately my free social psychology course will not lecture me that the above modern condition is abnormal psychology chomping on steroids. It will not instruct me on wisdom, nor on how to find it, nurture it, and use it to achieve happiness in this life. No, it is a social boo-boo to voice a strong opinion against the mountain of crap our society drops on us day after day. Normalcy is to be authenticated after 8 years of intense tunnel vision university study before society even allows an educated guess at what might be wrong with it. And then it won’t have credence without publication, which will only come if approved by an editor, himself overeducated to the point of fearing his own vocal opinion without first undergoing five years of proper research and testing.
But love? No degree necessary. And we think we’re very good at it, yes? We have experienced it, studied it, woke up eager to practice it, mainly during the courting stages, when it was as important to life’s mission as finding a career and establishing oneself an accepted player in society. So what happened? Why no mention of love promotion in the press other than hitting the 50th anniversary mark? Awards are many but private to be sure, credentials boxed up in the basement, photographs nonexistent to present-day visitors to the marital abode. Yet it was one of the three or four most significant moments in the life of every human being. It has been relegated as a social taboo to communally recollect and organize hard copies of examples of falling in love. A kind of embarrassment, almost a mild shame that prevents each and every one of us from “yawping” our love out from the rooftops.
I have a hypothesis to share with the social psychologists. By virtue of the 200,000 year old struggle for survival, modern well-fed human beings, who have no immediate threat to their existence, haven’t the slightest idea how to process the ecstasy of courting after the mate has been won. A species-wide denial of poetic joy that practically everyone has experienced pervades.
I would argue that by covering up real memories of courting happiness to the extent that they exist on par with other childhood rites of passage, like losing teeth or leaving the familial nest, we have denied ourselves and loved ones a published account of what could very well be an example of burgeoning wisdom.
So we forget about early love to make room for the tough, grown-up stuff, (ex., career, child rearing, keeping a clean house, grocery shopping, finding hobbies), and no periodic reference to the good ole days can be used to repair broken dreams. Hence dissatisfaction with our wife or husband, the seven-year-itch, and recycled ideas of how great life would be if we could just “get away”.
Separation in the mind, if not actualized, is all too common. And divorce becomes an option, since all reminders of why this girl or guy moved you in the first place, have been buried and lost to time.
I believe we all possess this poetry of love’s beginning. I think it is a course worth deep study, if only to research why its virtue has been lost to all and sundry. I have brought up these old letters and poems from our musty basement on the eve of my wife’s 40th birthday. Lately I have been feeling the overwhelming strain of practicing a repetition of days toward cliché goals. Security, conservatism, wealth, retirement—all notions I would have smirked at when I was in my twenties looking for answers to “why” and “what for?”. Then I started chasing Rose, and during the process, saw opportunities arise and abilities executed that I thought could never be. Not quite feelings of invincibility, but close. More like insight into the power of dreams to encourage positive action with another human being. That is I dreamed of a day, maybe a picnic and a movie, woke up and arranged it, and then experienced it with her. Success! Tenderness. Lovemaking. Sleep. And the promise of more. I already had a five-year-old daughter, and her well-being was much improved day-to-day as I courted Rose. The creativity, optimism, hope, excitement of new love was carried over to the nurturing of my little girl. There was no neglect, nobody pushed aside so abstracts like “job security” or “personal success” could make room.
So why did those feelings of wellness and “all is right with the world” ever fade away?
Now is when Leopold enters the concert arena.
The other night while doing dishes I made Rose laugh out loud as I explained to her my concept of Leopold. He is Bugs Bunny on the cover of this book, and can be found in action on Youtube or Vimeo. I told her that for once in my life (and hers too) I want the world to shower the praise on us that was given to that “wrascally wrabbit” when he was imitating some maestro of the time, real or imaginary. A necessary feeling to pull us out of the repetitive funk we find ourselves locked in. To spend it all on just one night! A suite booked at the Plaza, reservations at Daniel, a private car with driver, black disco dress with sparkles, tickets to the opera at Lincoln Center, where Rose and I conduct music for the worn and weary.
We had this feeling one time not so long ago. Every letter I sent to her was a promise for a night like this. And Rose was all about reciprocation, even if it was not literary. No doubt, we both believed wholeheartedly in each other and had faith in the future. I do not doubt that you, reader, have felt the same many times not too long ago…
So, what is the theory we can test? How do I institute this landmark study that will get the comfortable masses to recapture romantic love without relinquishing the urge to relieve social pressures in their every day lives? That is, how to find wisdom in love again, and save for retirement? Well, for starters, I wrote and edited this book. My private hope is that Leopold spends it all on one night to reinvigorate dreams which he believes were visionary in their wisdom. Of course none of this effort will matter if Rose is not convinced, and vies for austerity because the pay is never enough, keep working. John Lennon was about forty when “Starting Over” was a popular song on the radio. Those lyrics are poetry of what this book is trying to recapture. Also the following, written when I was feeling a little bit Leopold thirteen years ago:

Say, What’s Cooking In Oswego?

A plate of truth and a bottle of blood?
No, no numb skull, far from that!
There used to be fishermen here
but baby perch wiggle tougher
than our men do nowadays.
I think they kept chickens
back in the 1800’s
She already had an egg
and a log on the fire
before cock-a-doodle-do.
Whisk the egg with two fingers of sugar
and a dash of salt
Mix with yesterday’s milk,
pour into flour
then a pan on the fire
Eat with your hand and smell
her dirty apron and stinky toes.

There was one poet here in 1936
He went nuts
Walked up to his old Aunt Beasel
raking leaves into a pile,
and punched her square in the eye.
She kicked his ass of course
right in front of Joe and Mickey
and even their pet rabbit seemed to be laughing.
That was all of him
He took a bus to New York
Got a job washing dishes at Delmonico’s
Got rich, lived rich, died super-rich
with nothing at all.

What’s so wonderful about New York
that ain’t happening here in Oswego?
Well, now that everyone’s a sissy
(Joe was a truck driver
Mickey got a restaurant),
Now that even the cock swaggers down the street
terrifying the plump little bib drippers we’ve become
It’s nice once in a while to forget
about manhood, womanhood,
Aunt Beasel’s hairy mole next to her eye…
It’s good to forget about our legs and arms
and things like where water comes from
Now that we’re self-proclaimed half truths
and walking lies
why not enjoy life to its fullest plate of food?
And what’s cooking in Oswego
is only fitting for what Oswego cooks up.

Our restaurants mix powdered demi-glace,
deep fry their hairy ninety-five cent broilers,
Some chefs I know
should just piss on your plate
One place thinks rigatoni in Italian means
“looks and smells like Great Nana’s big toe”
At least in New York we can still pretend
that all life left is imagination
and get a king’s meal at a fair price
and window shop and make ourselves
smell real good for dinner.

“Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Throop
May I take your coats?
Chef Beasel saved a perfect egg for you tonight
You look so good, smell so sweet
Mrs. Throop,
your arms are bare and beautiful,
your neck perfeect
Right this way
Right this way
Right this way

Let this book be a reminder of what I believe makes the best humans in a comfortable world. Spend it all, and let the chips fall.

And thank Keith Richards for reading my books.

 

The Day The Artist Clipped His Toenails

ronaldcamp

“Similis In Prole Resurgo—I Am Born Again In My Offspring” 2016. Acrylic on paper. 15 x 23″

Off for a day trip to the fresh mountain air of the Adirondacks. Here is a short story about lake dwellers of the 1940’s. It’s very critical of gray-haired little boy war games.

The Day the Artist Clipped His Toenails

Frank lived with his family in an old logger’s camp at the base of Mt. Hope, two miles in from the highway. The road to his cabin could not be traveled by car. He had to walk to get food and mail. It was 1943, a year when all of America came this close to eating their human kill. Frank wanted nothing from the outside but food and mail. He was patriotic enough for the U.S. Postal Service, and fond of Sam, their mail man.
Frank’s wife and child were content and peaceful. He often thanked his lucky stars for that stroke of good fortune. They kept their dreaming personal, that is, the daughter walked the dog around the lake while the wife calmly waited for the landing of the loons. The days were magic. “To be human,” he often thought, “was too beautiful for words.”
Frank painted a thousand watercolors of the mountain. That was his art. Portraits of the mountain in the seasons. Mostly of the rain and snow, when his model was barely visible through the fog. Nobody bought them. Sam, the mailman, would reassure him. “Really, these look a whole lot better than a smiling Jap.” Most of the time, on his walk back through the forest with his bundle of mail and milk, Frank would come to his senses and push the sorrow out of the way.
Meanwhile, the whole world was at war. Sam told him about the murder of his sons and nephews in the Pacific. It made Frank sick to his stomach and once, he threw up at Sam’s feet, over box elder and wood rot. “Isn’t everyone sick Sam?” Frank foolishly wondered. Sam sighed. He tolerated Frank’s questions because there were only two men left on his route. The other guy was an old WWI vet, who sometimes shot rock salt at Sam, imagining him to be Kaiser Wilhelm, the mailman.
Sam shrugged his shoulders, “It’s war Frank. It’s ugly, but it’s war.”
The summer of ‘43 passed just like the summer of ‘42. White flowers and the fresh green leaves of lazy July. The geese sounds in the gray overhead mingled with the hopeful smell of dinner in late September. This was the artist’s simple routine. NOW, stand Frank’s calm melancholy up against the wide-eyed fear of your only son ten thousand miles from home the second he spies a flash of light from the brush, and the next second when he sees his mommy kissing him good night. He’s dead. Do you understand? Oh boy, here I go again. You gave him life and now it has been taken away. Who took it? The President? Yes. The mayor? Yes. You? Yes God, you. You horrible parent. You rotten human being. You devil’s devil. You no longer possess the instinct to protect. What kind of mammal are you? Why aren’t you tearing the flesh from your son’s murderers? How can you justify this? Is your child a rabbit? Did you make love to his father who was a rabbit? Can you squeeze out a hundred more of these before you die? Mother sends her child off on a train whistling straight to his grave. What a cute face. Showered and shaved. What an ugly thing a bullet does to his precious face. But war is ugly, and that’s a fact. And thank God almighty your son was murdered, Mrs. Smith. His sacrifice really slowed Tojo and Hitler’s advance. Yes ma’am! That’s what the letter says, so it must be true. “Morning mom. Wow pancakes, thanks!” No. He’s dead. His happy face had bullets shot into it. The letter gives thanks for your son’s life. They dragged his dead body over the bloody wasteland, tossed him into a used coffin, and dropped him at your door. And tomorrow if Mr. Pres. says we’re going to the Middle East, then let’s go. Hurry up! Yes, by God let’s go! It’s got to be more exciting than listening to those silly bird calls and waiting. Just waiting. Always the endless waiting. Acquiesce. Give in to the power of your elected leaders.
Frank? Where’s Frank? Why bother with Frank? Oh I am so sick and tired of stories. I wish Frank was a glowing hot steel ball shoved up your colon.
So instead, I clipped my toenails.

 

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From “Lucky Seven Series” That Became “Fortunate Eight”

dole

The Spanish-Philippine-American War

Since we all prefer to live in a progressive society, where time functions on a linear plane, I would have the abstractionists of my land recall the true histories of war, and not the always distorted, outright lying  political attitudes about it. The latter always fits the story to its own imaginative power and glory. For instance, we’re not allowed to watch television about World War II unless all our great and grandfathers are of pure hero stock, and not frightened pimpled teenagers mowing down other acne-infected children, or fire-bombing entire cities because Roosevelt and Truman were too sissy to fist-fight Hitler and Tojo on “Leader Island”.

Back in April 2013 I received a pile of discarded press-cleaning sheets from my wife’s workplace. At the time I was fed up once and for all with the dandy-o’s—the Bushes, Clintons, Obamas, and their light and easy approach to the murder of other people’s babies. I sought to do with paint what every artist desires upon threat of violence, that is, immortalize the filthy cowards. So on a string of inclement April nights, I descended into my painter’s foxhole to depict the history of popular U.S. wars in two hours or less. I called the series “The Lucky Seven”—however this one happened to make eight. The extra might have represented the 300,000  Filipinos murdered for the crime of being born poor onto a big island. Why not? It’s all cuckoo when the unread refuse to read. So I made pretty pictures of war to participate in this progressive march to the end of the world. My favorite one here is when Teddy Roosevelt took San Juan Hill with pantaloons infested with crabs. Our great grandparents made him president because many of our great grandparents were frightfully stupid. If hindsight is 20/20, why are so very few among us seeing correctly? For an answer, go back to the first paragraph and the inevitable failure of all progressive societies… The winners get to tell the stories.

And the losers paint in a basement.

All paintings are acrylic on press-cleaning sheets, about 15 x 7″ Please read the titles carefully.

lynch

sanjuan

marines

hawaii

maine

senator

bourbon

No Thing Like Kid Leukemia To Kill A Kickin’ Beer Buzz, Eh Rural Roy?

leukemiatumblr

2011. Acrylic on paper, 17 x 25″

From: Capillary Reaction: Hydrofracking and Irrevocable Loss

More often than not, I don’t think people do the right thing for their children, nieces, nephews, second cousins, etc. We like to think that we do, but no, not really. For instance, every time we let a child into a car, and forgo the crash helmet, we have given up the right to proclaim we always have their best safety in mind. It’s easy to pretend that Johnny and Sue look cool and comfortable in a carpeted projectile set at a cruising speed of 70 mph, among a hundred other luxury projectiles. However, the science is clear. A kid with a crash helmet on will survive more accidents than one without. Likewise, just making a concerted effort to avoid unnecessary trips to the mall, or pediatrician who, because insurance companies told her to, refuses to come to your child’s bedside when the latter is exhausted with double pneumonia. Similarly, car manufacturers could be mandated to fit all automobiles with steel roll cages. 77% less fatalities on the road coupled with helmet wearing required by law. We could have the safest highways on earth by next year with laws passed for the betterment of society and not the institutional sleazy squeeze off overhead to make a profit.
This is how I often see the good and bad of the world—through the eyes of an omnipotent care provider. I wish I had the ultimate safety control over earth’s children. Who wouldn’t? War would end. Nuclear weapons would be dismantled and stuffed back up the crack of any nation’s nincompoop stronghold that ever thought having them was a bright idea. Pharmaceutical companies would no longer need the lure of Croesus profit to discover helpful medicines; men and women of science would have the highest honor among populations, and not need to be told by a greedy death administrator where to focus their attention. The successes of agronomists would be awarded at ceremonies broadcast prime time. For Christ’s sake, they fed the world didn’t they? Beats having a public sex change on TV. NASA would be stripped of all its Luke Skywalker Star Wars machines, and fitted with new admirable words to replace the most wasteful acronym in the history of mankind. National Altruistic Scientists Association, or something like that, and the moon remains a lit up dead thing to look at in the night sky. Finally, I would give companies like Exxon-Mobil and Range Resources thirty days to discover and implement renewable alternative energy makers under the threat of cutting each member of their board of directors (and all their unhelmeted limo drivers) in half.
Ho hum. Just wistful dreaming.
The girl in the painting is green from vanadium splashes as she dances through the sprinkler atop the Marcellus Shale on a hot summer day. Her Dad sold Range Resources the right to douse her with carcinogens, because he was told by a qualified spokesperson with no scientific research skills that fracking was safe, don’t worry, here’s a hundred grand. Dad was glad. Paid off the mortgage and the truck. The money got spent, and most unfortunately, his daughter’s natural bone development too.
All that fast money joy, and now this downer? Buzz kill! Oh well, nothing he can do about it now except move.
“For Christ’s sake, Suzy, leave the damn helmet in the yard! Get in the car. We gots to go”

The Everson Vs. The Memorial Art Gallery

everson

“The Everson vs. The Memorial Art Gallery” 2013. Acrylic on press cleaning sheet, 15 x 7″

From Last Communion:

Two feelings today. First individual. Second communal. In the second I fix museums. In the first I fight despair.

I am weary of thinking. S.A.D. covers me like a fog at this time of year. S.A.D. with financial worry is a toxic cloud sizzling acid into my frontal lobe.
Depression? I don’t think so. It is what any man, of any culture, of any time feels when he possesses creative energy and spunk but has no waiting outlet for his expression.
“Keep it to yourself for six months mister, then in spring we’ll be committed to the same routine, and not have time for you then, either.”
Lows like this always bring me back to Henry Miller. He is the artist whose legacy champions the driven failure. He is the dreamer’s Jesus, and Tropic of Cancer the New Testament. Forty-four year old man coughing up green gobs in a Paris artist ghetto delivers pure hope to the future neurotics inhabiting modern earth. Nihilism with warm bread and salted butter. Joy as a routine of failure. Happiness with no expectations. Scratch that… At least one expectation… Dinner!
Most houses of present day claiming to represent the artist are supermarket chains stocking their shelves with glossy Keebler® products. They have lost sight of the man and woman as artist. “Give us the output that PBS wants to see. We don’t care about your thoughts. As long as you supply us our boxed Toll House® cookie crackers—stale or fresh, it doesn’t matter. And you better dress well. And be approachable. And portfolio a resume that looks corporate like accounting…”
Oh Jesus, Henry, they’re taking away art’s right to failure, to jugs of wine, to 3 a.m. coffee, wild plans for the future, close friendships, and sleep as a favorite pastime for lovers. They are accomplishing the death of art in the cruelest manner to the artist. With silence! With form letters. With business. With pedaling works door-to-door, alone, in a car. Individuality and avarice. Now artists tap in like cable TV to a corporate model for communication. Twitter. Facebook. They’ve gone public. Promoters, promotees, a sculptor I just met telling me in a sports bar how his friend needs to show more in order to build his resume—
These are weapons wielded by the enemies of art. Soldiers paid by anti-creative institutions. Bootlickers of art history PhD’s. The temporary gatekeepers. Thank you Jesus Miller. Again.
Now to keep to my subject promise of finding creative ways to slaughter the corporate model that has usurped art in America.
Christie’s is a pig sty, and the people who work there are rats who feed on pig drippings.
The Everson Museum is a Syracuse treasure, as is the Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester. But they have lost their way. They are mirroring their favorite soda brand (“pop” in Rochester—so you can tell which city I advocate for). They are seeking identity in a sea of exactly the same thing museums. Each a division of Keebler® trying to outdo its sister product with the “individuality” of whatever a cool million can purchase this year for the collection. Brand identity. The new thing. Like the new normalcy of networking. Concepts verbatim from page 2 in the corporate charter.
We smell a rat.
There must be three hundred or more museums of equal size across America. And they all cry poverty in the sense that attendance is down, upkeep is up, and it just feels like so few are interested in the arts these days. The Cincinnati Art Museum spends 1.8 million on an 18 x 24″ Georgia O’Keeffe and Johnny’s mother is opening up a can of SpaghettiOs® for breakfast so his stomach won’t rumble at school today. Johnny likes the Cincinnati Bengals but the Bengals corporation wants to whore their “anything they can” on Johnny. So Johnny gets a Bengal helmet for Christmas this year. The Bengal business model was a success. The linebacker got three million. The art museum an O’Keeffe. Avarice can easily find its connections in Hell. Just plug into the bottom line.
So my idea is this: Bring local art to the status it has deserved since Barbara the Neanderthal iron oxided the cave wall with a horse. Today it’s like museums around the world would be jonesing for a slab of that rock.
“France has a lot of ‘gaul’ to keep cave art in its own caves, especially when we’re willing to offer thirty million a cubic yard.”
All the artists in the Syracuse area, represented by the Everson Museum, can enter a yearly juried competition, like in January, when creatives are locally the most desperate. Same for the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. Each museum chooses ten of its favorites for the juror, who is from out of state and has no bias toward either city. She is invited to stay at a middle ground no-man’s land along the I-90 corridor. Clyde, for instance. The host museum will alternate each time the two meet to fight. The juror judges the work, both staffs sort it out, and the top three out of five of the total twenty declares the winner museum. There is a show in summer at the home of the victor. And it receives more hype than a dead O’Keeffe, born and raised in Wisconsin, ever deserved.
Local artists become the art stars of their own communities. Now the Everson can challenge Munson-Williams in Utica next year. The Memorial Art Gallery can take on Albright Knox in Buffalo. In a five year period, several cities can duke it out and declare a champion institution for that region.
So when the Jones family from California visits the Everson they will be shone a room displaying Syracuse’s artist cream of the crop. I know the work will be just as inspired as any from van Gogh, Picasso, or that internationally adored, anal retentive metal sculptor, who, by virtue of some corporate art Gnostics, sits atop the sculpture throne in America, even though he was born in Natchez and hates the snow.

An addendum

“On My Own Time” is an exhibit the Everson hosts every October. It is a show where participating businesses send the top two or three judged pieces from their employees, who all have a hobby called “art”. Just to give you an idea of how screwy things are in our culture these days, I cannot even well express the insult dagger that drives into the very heart of humanity, which is all things art. But it does, and it goes deep. My friend, a marble sculptor who has shown at this venue the past two years, does university teaching on his own time. He spends hours searching for stone, dreaming the stone, cutting, carving, and sanding the stone. And he has something to say that he can never say while hobbying at his day job, which always pays him on time for work that is one part inspiration, three parts stultifying. And he is lucky to practice the art of teaching. To receive his certificate for “doing art” even though he doesn’t have to do art, can be a rewarding result of herculean effort. Along a similar vein, the poor janitor, who works at the same institution on his own time, scrubs dried vomit off of toilet seats in dormitories. His non-art is all stultifying. He is a photographer snapping photos in the bright light of day, from mountaintops in the Adirondacks. This makes him forget briefly that his culture and society expect him to pull hair out of clogged drains in order to take pictures on his own time, and never the other way around.
The show costs ten dollars for guests. It’s catered. And my friend for his piece, which took him over a hundred and fifty hours of time to perfect, leaves with a show book and a desk top printed certificate.
Every time the Everson acquires another fifty thousand dollar piece of someone else’s culture, they figuratively ram a can of SpaghettiOs down little Johnny’s throat, and likewise remind the community that art is for the dead, just keep at it on your own time. The Everson needs our ignorance to fill its coffers. Like Walmart. Like Pepsi. Like McDonald’s and the Cincinnati Bengals.
My friend the sculptor is an artist and a teacher. Everything he does is on his own time. The problem is that the thieves of our culture want to snatch pieces of what is ours for themselves.
The Everson and Memorial Art Gallery should exist because they are our community treasures. But they need to wake up and throw open their doors to a new vitality. Keep the stuffy tomb rooms of worldly historical art. They have their story. In my opinion they should be restocked with the art of dead central New Yorkers. I would want to know what a painter living on Midler or South Geddes was up against back in 1923. Looks pretty good. Yeah, yeah, Picasso was in Paris painting a gargoyle. And Woodrow Wilson harbored no regrets after sending thousands of human beings to unecessary slaughter. Jesus my dear Henry Miller, are they ever going to cut out this worship of dead kings?

Gun Loins and A Closed Letter To Bernie Sanders

rgunloin

“Even With All That Extra Overtime Training, Paul Could Not Keep His Lips Off Gun’s Smooth Steel Barrel” 2016. Acrylic on stolen paper, 15 x 22″

There is something decomposing in the neofascist state. Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States. Hillary Clinton just picked a man nobody knows for VP. Everybody  knows you Bernie, millions would run to the polls ecstatic for you, and you caved in to fear of your own newly acquired power in supporting a Clinton Dynasty during what you called an ongoing political revolution. A tiny fraction of the millions who registered Democrat will go to the polls for Clinton. Clearly, you must see this. I have little doubt that some professional outside force influenced you to endorse more of the same. The majority of your supporters wanted a King Sanders to finish the New Deal. Yes, that was dumb. Many progressives have no idea who their congressperson is. Could be a gun-lovin’, serial Christ sniffing, right-wing, pretend religious, Confederate fear-monger who loves to flag sex with a federal government that legislates cultural laws and military spending. You know this. There is precedent. Ron Paul couldn’t get Congress to change. He wanted liberty, yet instead got a bunch of tea-partying chanting bigots on parade. By abdication, you have turncoated to send a giant wave of confusion down the ranks—confusion to turn into anger and then nationwide apathy. Everything is just more cuckoo after you Bernie Sanders. You think that you can keep moral high ground with the knowledge that both Republican and Democratic nominees will kill a whole lot of tan and brown people when picked for the monster prize. Trump will egg it on in the cities at home (das Vaterland Fürher), and Clinton will give Boeing a cluster bomb boost with more Middle Eastern children’s body parts to practice with (business as usual). Both are disgusting human beings. And you claim to support one of them. What, in the name of our future, does that make you? Politics as usual. Several thousands, maybe a million, will struggle to hold tight to morality through a three month stream of media brainwashing, and cast their vote for a Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or even neighbor Fred or Freida next door, who never in their lifetimes had anyone killed, roughed up, imprisoned, harassed, nor even purposefully embarrassed. It will be enough boost for the electoral college to choose Trump. And it is because of you—the only candidate to have a positive rating in this entire election process of insanity.

You took the fear plan, Bernie, hook, line, and Lake Champlain sinker. You fell for it so twentieth century! Jeff Bezos and the CIA won. “No Donald Trump ever!” Well, here’s a little truth. At least, as far as the law knows—Trump has never killed anyone. Clinton has voted and promoted the death of about a million human beings. Is this the game we play now to pick our Kings and Queens? Who is qualified to kill more people, to drone more babies, to threaten the use of more nuclear weapons?

“No solution is off the table. We shall use any means necessary to end the world. Thank you. Good night. Now which Secret Service gun knob can I oil?”

How presidential. Thank you for protection Mr. billionaire, Ms. grandchild hater, Mr. pretend Jewish man.

Donald is an unloved dandy. Hillary is a little girl monster who tortures mammals and lies and changes her eyes. Bernie still thinks he’s a rabble-rouser from 1968. All the young people are going to change the world and not morph into vile and disgusting careerists at the first new car smell opportunity.

After igniting a passion for cultural rebirth and national sanity, you went inside yourself like a tired and frightened old man.

Here Bernie, I want these things, to name a few, from a federal government:

Passenger trains, exceptional care for the elderly, a national health care system, General Mills burned to the ground, Keebler imprisoned, Boeing jettisoned to the moon; I want Netflix to have a flaming stick inserted colonly, schools that teach the joy of living, and streets to be named after artists and writers.

I do not want these things, to name a few, from a federal government:

100 interns per congressperson, any energy source that will blacken my kid’s lung, or potentially have her cat bear a litter of six-legged kittens. I do not want a military larger than Canada’s, an oil pipeline through Sioux territory, nor another Rupert Murdoch crotch rot Budweiser commercial.

Every federal vote I make from now on will depend on a candidate of a very similar kindred spirit. It is not up to the powerless to change the world. That is a heavy burden to bear for people who by the very reason of not being powerful, are not strong enough to restructure a nation.

But you are, or were anyway. And then you stopped.

Oh well.

Write-ins from now on.