Sunday, September 30, 2012

the real artists

the real artists deliver
the newspapers that carry the lies.
they assemble mother-boards,
sports shoes, clothes, and purses.

the real art is the art
of re-assembling the world
every day.

the real artists go where
they're ordered to go when
they put on the uniform, whatever
uniform it is.

the real artists, they
change old people's diapers,
teach five-year-olds to read,
serve eggs to smirking
college students, empty
professors' trash cans,
sweep the floors

of art galleries, change
light-bulbs in auditoriums,
breast-feed, cook, clean,
get groceries, carry water,
look after grandchildren.

the real artists manage
crews, staff shifts, order
raw material, stack lumber,
run bureaus, process forms,
maintain websites, take
complaints, withstand
verbal abuse.

they mix cocktails, dance nude,
look for food in dumpsters,
rant from the caverns
of mental illness.

they protect children.
they haul freight.
they haul people.
they wash clothes.
they pick up bodies
lying on highways.
they wash corpses.

they mourn the dead,
help the maimed recover,
grieve with the bereaved.

the real artists know how
to add and subtract.
they walk or stand til
their legs and backs ache.
they show up on time and
kill vermin. they plant crops
and then wait, watching
the pale blue ceramic
sky of drought.


Hans Ostrom, 2012
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