Categories > Original > Poetry1 Reviews
Yeah, that's me, and who I am, in case you'd like to know
Oh, I'm an artist
So what do you do draw or paint?
Oh I paint mostly.
I create things that you
could never imagine,
work in mediums
you've never fathomed.
I sew hues into faces,
make simple lines into places.
I weave words into stories in ways you can only understand through sight, non-semantic, illogical, unsound.
I only say I paint to impress you,
because paint is more expensive
Than the eyeliner from your mother's purse,
Than the cooking oil in your kitchen.
It costs more than the ball-point pen or highlighter your mother hands you in church just to keep you quiet.
But why say paint?
If you knew what kind
you'd disrespect it too
If I said I used the tempera paints
you used in school.
That being the medium
most difficult to master
You wouldn't understand,
you'd disrespect it faster
And if I said I used acrylic
you'd say, " why don't you work in oil"
I'm not touching that one.
No, I work in paper, books, and collage
No, I work in fiber, fabric, thread, and your old panty hose
No, I work digitally, in colors, sounds, pictures, words, shapes, text, flash, html, java, cascading style sheets, and php
No, I tell stories, about my family, my extended family, my church family, my friends, about the community you exclude me from,
your community , your club of good ole boys or girls,
And listen I'm talking about the person next to you too.
You turn your back on me in my painting,
I welcome you in my writing,
And in my comics, I say whatever I want.
And anyone who sees what I do
will say, "it's beautiful"
Well so is the play of light on a garbage bag,
but that doesn't mean it's not trash.
Oh but wait! Are you serious? Do you mean it? Is it really "beautiful"?
Well then you'll buy it right??!
Cause that's what I am a child of generation why, so eager to sell a piece of my soul.
Because paint and ideas, beauty on board can afford nothing but admiration.
The truth is, to get anything from you have to cater to you,
I did not become an artist to be a waitress.
so I'll keep my truth
and give you the knockoffs and knick knacks you're so fond of, made especially for you.
My forever supportive mother, my best friend,says,
"Why don't you paint Peruvians? Why don't you paint the 'Africa Americas'?"
When every painting I do reflects my life and my culture, when I only paint people, my family, my friends, the beauty of every person I happen to see on the street.
I paint the people I love
and I paint them all the only way I can see them, as gorgeous.
I get so worked up over people telling me what or who I should draw like, paint like, create like.
Last month I competed against people of color supposed to be the best in the country
The Best in the Country
But all I saw was amateur work, art lacking passion, disappointing compositions, all safe,
and worst of all African American Black Kitsch;
a basketball player succeeding,
and portrait after portrait
nothing to whet even the smallest appetite
Like a pair of dark skinned hands in chains on a flat black background accompanied by some unremarkable, poorly incorporated text.
Please, let the black Jesus rest till the second coming.
After all was said and done.
After all the artists with any originality had lost,
What had the judge thought of my work?
No negative words to spare, no constructive criticisms, not even a simple , a true ,
I don't like it
And on top of that, "have a look at the work of Romare Bearden"
As if I didn't know of the work of the Black surrealist pop artist
of neon backgrounds and paper cutout people whose heads don't match their bodies
As if my expressionist work was anything at all like his abstract narratives
The only thing in common was "collage" and "black"
And it is the same everywhere
My mother says "You don't understand the Black artist struggle!"
And you do?
I understand the American Artist struggle,
I understand being pulled in four different directions by my ties to my culture
I understand that to become famous as an artist to get any money as an artist you have to work your whole life and you won't get it till you're dead
I understand that as an artist I have the unpleasant responsibility of being a teacher.
Like my teachers
and every other artist before and after me
I make things in all colors and almost never in the ones you know,
I build art on the strong foundation of a designer that came before me,
You might think that I'm too young, too dark, too light, too inexperienced to really know the American Artist Struggle
But I know it because I am
more artist than you
and I do it and know it in my own unique way
as wolf told me I don't even have to try.
And if you're impressed by this, wait till you see what I can do with my hands.