Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ascent Aspirations for May, 2014

May Issue: drawings and their photos and poetry in it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Meditation on Serious Thought

Don't get
hung up on poetry.
When you get hung
up on poetry
you start to dream
and your dreaming
softens the darkening
lines in the world.

OK It's Spring: Video

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Three Ungranted Wishes

I want to go home
You can't.
You passed through the gates,
and locked the door and it
has passed to someone else.
I want to be
by an old
bearded man.
You can't.
You have
become that.
I want
to forget.
You can't
You don't
control the memories.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


You go to Vegas
or the Riviera of France
in your best James Bond suit,
and the women
in their famous slinky
gowns rub their bare
shoulders against you
as you stand at the
table playing Baccarat.
The dealer has dark
flashy eyes but
doesn't care. You just pass.
You tinkle the ice
in your clear vodka drink.
It's a romantic cold,
a scarey worldly cold
that assumes your self-sufficiency.
You are lonely
but that's how you
are supposed to feel,
how you feel most skillfully.
You win, you lose.
The house takes you.
You try to read
the mind of God.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Graffiti Art

Graffiti is like a fast growing child. It was born some vague time in the 1960s, rising out of the urban population. It used to be a curse. Youth desecrating walls that were supposed to be blank. It was rebellion and lawlessness. Unruly youth tagged spaces with their names and thereby claimed them as their turf, their wild doodle space.

Graffiti was truly a product of the 1960s when youth felt under threat by war and the draft. Divisions of poverty and race fueled seductive outrage. They used to say they couldn't trust anyone over 30. Young people protested. Led by teenagers, the country marched, broke windows and painted on blank walls or rail cars or subway cars in bright colors. Graffiti used to be a synonym for vandalism.

As graffiti artists grew older, the wall desecration became art. Just as youthful skateboarders became athletes. The culture curved around them, adapted, accepted them. Graffiti artists became more orderly, even organized. Commercial interests stepped in to sell them products and write books about them. Graffiti art became teachable in special schools or academia. Techniques hardened so they could be described. Graffiti became a style.

However, graffiti has always been about fun. The most careful, meticulous graffiti artist throws his letters, round and bouncy against his wall canvas. The colors are bright, sometimes almost lurid. Even though the themes can be serious, the figures are folksy and energetic. There is always a sense of joy.

The advice of one graffiti artist, as spoken on his You Tube video is never to tag walls. You should make a written contract with the wall owner, he says. You should make a detailed, even a colored-in sketch of what you intend to do and present it along with your written agreement for the owner's signature. But, the artist goes on to say, the sketch may not be what the wall really needs. You have to reserve the right to make it differently than planned.

Now you can buy books on how to make graffiti letters written by artists who have become expert enough to write books on their methods. You can even buy computer programs that generate graffiti for you. You can just copy the graffiti right onto your blank space. This is a sign of evolution. The methods of graffiti style have become so codified that a machine can show you how. You can buy kits of spray paint and other graffiti production materials openly on the web or in stores. Some cities still ban the sale of spray paint to any one under the age of majority. At the same time, many cities and towns have opened graffiti galleries and have exhibitions of graffiti artists widely attended by connoisseurs.

Graffiti is the sibling of hip-hop and rap music. These were born in the ghettos of New York and Los Angeles in bursts of rebellion during the 1960s. Graffiti shouted out the identity of the artists who felt nameless and hip hop expressed the outbursts of opinion from musicians who felt themselves oppressed. A lot of hip hop music actually came out of prisons and drug addiction facilities in the 1960s. After 50 years, some of those artists have international reputations and sell their crafts all over the earth.

Graffiti is still largely an art of writing signatures, like a kind of new calligraphy. The style of graffiti writing usually appears at first on the borders of school books and notebooks. The rounded letters are easy to draw for young hands. It's easy to animate them with cartoon eyes, noses and mouths and give them sarcastic expressions. The graffiti style lends itself to cartoon and caricature. Even now at the height of graffiti development, the forms are simple and open and the colors are pure, generated from flat planes of spray paint or magic markers. The shapes are formed by moving arms stretched full length like the legs of a compass. It's an art of big movements, designed to be seen from far away. It is produced quickly as it was during the time when it had to be done stealthily to dodge security guards or police. Graffiti is pure folk art, an art of those who shun training and who probably began to think of themselves as artists only now.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Exterminator's Lament

People and mice
live together
forever. Mice don't
care.They just know
what they like.
tenant warm squats
food hubs,
babies' buvettes.
They navigate 
with poor eyes,
by noses,
the dark
I have my own
trouble with sympathy.
Oh Disney how you have
led me astray.
I hear them
unkillable with their
pitter patter feet.

Friday, April 04, 2014

An Ad for the Perfect Waterproof Mattress Protector

The modern mattress
is what makes possible
modern sleep;
soft so I
model myself in it
like I'm to become
a plaster cast.
..What's wrong? she asks
there's something bothering you.
The modern mattress
can hide the mite
that eats my skin
slough, lives small
excretes itch and sneezes.
..Just anomie, I answer
nearness to old age,
a reminder of waste.
I will
sheath the modern mattress
in cotton terry
with warp and weft
like the wall of China.
It will keep out
the droppings of mites.