Pen in hand, still, I wait
And await some distant wave of inspiration
Exploded across the cosmos
One-hundred-and-thirty-million lifetimes ago
Crystalized in those years through the void,
An ever yawning silence, never arriving
Trembling through the ink in my palm
Scribbling into jots and tittles of a new tongue
Did you see me? Did you know me then,
The future inheritor of your death?
Life springs forth from the scattered remains
Of heavy metals and precious gems alike
Each treacherous and treasures to be sifted
Through the quill I now hold.
I wish for you I was more. Less an imperfect craft
Childlike before the Ancient of Days.
Words drip - spoon fed - from my chin
In rivulets into puddles of shimmering reflection.
Oh Beauty! But beauty not within my power to create.
Best not to know this inadequacy
Nor to plum the shallowness of my reservoir
For you are enough,
Your presence sufficient to fill whatever vessel
Is present and presented to your purpose.
More than a little influenced by my third (or forth) trip through Pressfield's War of Art, the following is my own adaptation of the Invocation of the Muse. If you find it helpful, adapt your own or appropriate with my blessing.
Father God send your Muse, servant of The Creator and spirit of fire to ignite the work of these humble hands.
I pledge to you my service in the fight against Resistance and offer up these moments for you to shape and to guide.
Fill this place with your presence leaving no room for doubt or fear.
Come, and let the work begin.
SAVING JESUS. 36x84" oil on canvas; 2016
Joyful, joyful we call to arms
sound bells of warning and cries of alarm
broadcast what fears of ‘morrow may bring
and with one voice to war we sing
Rouse ye sleeper and rise to defend
the glory of Christ is ours to win
What they did in ignorance we do in spite
They may be forgiven but we will get right
Our power advances as his' retreats
A requisite tactic; grace would require defeat
Peace we preach at the end of our gun
Or else there’s the exit and you better run
For once they're defeated and he is ours
Secured within doctrinal walls and towers
Affirmed by tradition we will never more fear
Those from without will not again come near
Yes we will own him - Yes! - we’ll possess
and not in humility - No! - in success
His was to lose as ours is to win
We’ve come to save Jesus, let’s save him again
Cleaning out my nightstand drawer, I stumbled across a folded scrap of paper, dated 11/14/09. Enjoy.
To my children, a gift of words
Naively homespun in common hours
Dyed in life, stipped of pride, content to serve
With hopes that in some night of biting cold
We all in season must move through
The knitting here will return once more
To comfort and still a troubled soul
For I stood once where you stand now
Your worries are yours and yet also my own
And so our love is ours as one
Gleaned as it is from His above
For the stitching here of grammar hopes
To weave together something more
Than the sum produced of feeble parts
Does nothing less than bind our hearts
ONLY THE MIRACLE of writing can cut through the haphazard inner-space of churning ideas and so filter and condense as to produce something solid, something true. Often the end product of these "exorcisms" are more a surprise to the author than to anyone else. Such is the case with this quick "Artist Statement." Having agreed to be a part of a local arts event for foster families in which some of my work would be displayed, I was asked to send an artist statement to accompany the pieces. But... something about "leveraging the inherent historical context of the medium", or "confronting issues of social interactivity and digital simulacra" didn't seem altogether right for this audience. So, a re-write: Keep it quick, stick to the important, and be broad. Oh, and no graduate-school speak. What follows may not be great, (hey, it WAS quick), but it's true. And that's really saying something for an artist statement.
"Making art provides a means to map out ideas, express emotion, and refine creative abilities. For me, this has taken shape in oil painting, a medium I have come to love both for its substance (you can do SO much with it) and symbolism (how cool is it to work with a medium that so many other artists have used before me?). And MOST of the time I really enjoy it. Like, during those times when it feels magical, as if I’m sailing with a full wind at my back that could carry the work on forever. But then there are those other moments of inevitable struggle, when the work stalls and progress seemingly grinds to a halt. But here’s the deal: you can’t have one without the other. If you’re willing to struggle enough, you will experience success. And likewise, success has never come to anyone without at least an equivalence of difficulty. There’s no getting around it. This is art making, a practice as old and as vital as humanity itself. I hope you enjoy my small contribution. Even better, I hope you find the courage to add your own.” -AG
To this thought and the next
And the sum forever hence
Absent now as a letter unwritten
Blank, clean, and heavy
With the weight of all future tomorrows
Dolled out moment by moment
On the scale of this brain
Solid as stone, secreted like sludge
Sinks to unfathomable depths
Layer by ribboned layer
Run! Flee feathered fish of noble birth
And the righteous anemone, blind as death
To be scattered or entombed like Pompea
The inscription reads: Here lies my memories
And what of it?
These are mine, or were
Get your own to lose, or secure
For what angler would dare fish this inky sea
For thoughts once forgotten once belonging to me?
The sound of birds
Tires on pavement
The cool breath of mid April
Through the window
My lungs too fill with this life
As all creation wipes sleep from crusty eyes
And yawns, stretching frozen ligaments
Toes sprout from beneath winter quilts
Touching cool floor to tender skin
My lungs and this house too exhale
With white steam from black coffee
And melting butter on warm toast
As somewhere a radio speaks
Of real problems in imaginary lands
Are the birds aware?
Do they see my movement
As a response to their own
Through the window?
Ohio in winter a tent of grey pitched
on vacant blue limbs curling like smoke
Stinging cheeks, nostrils
Stiff ground, stiff knees, both unyielding
Ohio in winter sticks to your eyelashes,
runs down the inside of your glasses
The naked beauty of ohio in winter
overwhelms the shallow spring nest of my heart
I can not take you in as you would have me,
as peers meeting on the road
Soft flesh barricaded in strata of wool and down
To protect whom, you or me?