my daughter was pissed that mommy went off to work.
an hour and a half later (desperate) we were making art.
at 2 years of age, her paint handling is robust--
heavy with the authority that comes from not giving a shit.
my contributions-- soundly dismissed beneath the gravity
of her fevered, joyful expression…
our collaboration made me mourn those awful hours
of self-consciousness and professionalism--
the meager theater of "trying…"
it has occurred to me that every practice
attaches itself, at its highest level, to "art".
dentistry, law, carpentry, tending bar, gambling,
selling crack, stringing tennis racquets,
running guns, or any number of poor souls and ill gotten gains…
everything wants to be "art", but only art is "art".
art is lonely. or at least, maybe it should be…
it isn't the massed concrete of Chelsea avenues,
or Culver City sidewalks
and it wasn't the cobblestones of SoHo.
art is the studio-- the dirty window,
the old coffee can housing the fossil of a 4-inch brush.
the drawing never finished; cheap white oil-- long since yellowed…
"I will tell you this:
no eternal reward
will forgive us
for wasting the dawn."
there is craft: our learned practicality-
the processes and skill sets
that allowed our conquests of protein and fields.
the only thing worse than a man that can't put up a wall
is a woman who can't cook…
but we are losing "craft", we are losing ability…
and still, the journeyman aspires to "art".
in an era of manual incompetence,
my daughter will know how to cook
in the kitchen, or over the embers of a fire she built
and indeed, lit, if need be, bereft of matches,
a lighter or any number of convenient surplus.
she will know how to build a wall, change a tire,
clean a fish, tie a hook, stretch a canvas,
break an arm, choke a man out
and the beauty of the head clinch and knee…
she will know the grace of an old book
and the mysteries of graphite and sunsets.
unless, of course,
she tells me to fuck off...