i sit down to draw
because even though
i’ve started
too late
i want to be able to draw
as well
as Basquiat
or Van Gogh
or Picasso
which is why
i picked up
this drawing book
to teach me
to teach me
how to draw
as well
as Basquiat
or Van Gogh
or Picasso
but today it is teaching me
i have no patience
because the drawing
i’m supposed to draw
is all
very much like
the intense
hatred I’m feeling
towards myself
‘cause I’m starting
so late
and can’t yet
like Basquiat
or Van Gogh
Or Piccasso

and part of the reason
it’s all out of proportion
is because I can’t concentrate
and part of the reason
i can’t concentrate
is because a golden eagle
is sitting on my head
sinking its talons
into my skull
she wants to take off
but I want to stay
so it goes on this way
she fighting me
me fighting back

finally I give up the drawing
and try to read
but that escape route
has been cut off
the eagle is still there
her talons haven’t moved

and I’m slipping away

“Fuck it,” I say
and let go.

the only place I can really be
at this point
is the point
at the center
breathing deeply
staying in the center
while the golden
eagle flaps her wings
and we fly past
grand words and images
and I know this is
a tricky time
because if I dwell
on any  word
or image too long
it will stick to me
drawing more like it
unto itself
and to me

and that’s how people go mad

but the eagle will sometimes
take me
and beyond
and that’s not so bad
no, that’s not so bad
at all

and so I wonder

if the golden eagle
belongs on my head
that is
the question

if she
is a part of me
as much of me
as my kidneys
then I have no choice
but to surrender
and to keep taking this trip
even if it leads me
into death
or madness
or both
that may just be
my dharma
as much a dharma
as Romeo and Juliet
or one plus one
equaling two

if she doesn’t belong there
i need drugs and  a white room
i need drugs and a white room in a white building with white fluorescent lighting
where I can share my thoughts and feelings
“without judgment”
“in a safe space”
they may even have
“arts and craft”


that would be nice
“arts and crafts”
maybe while I’m there
i can learn to draw
like Basquiat
or Van Gogh
or Picasso.


3 thoughts on ““Dilemma”

  1. So the drawing isn’t coming, but the poetry sure is. You know what Bukowski said, “if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.” I myself have strong photo realism drawing skills and almost became a medical textbook illustrator. But I wanted to make outsider art, I wanted to make paintings that felt like Paul Klee but that kind of art just doesn’t come bursting out of me. I don’t really appreciate the drawing skills I have like i should, but others do and they will even get mad at me for not drawing, for “wasting my talent”. But it somehow doesn’t feel like talent because it comes easily. Its like our hair. No one seems to like their own hair, especially people that have gorgeous hair. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a woman with thick shiny luxurious hair complaining that she just can’t do a thing with it.
    So the drawing isn’t coming. But you can just whip out a post like this one in no time flat. You realize it would take most people weeks or months to write something this well. And with the imagery you weave with your words, who needs to draw?
    Also, have you tried collaging? It can be a very satisfying way to create the piece you want without drawing. You can re-arrange and manipulate images in way you can’t do with drawing alone. There are so many great collage artists, Hannah Hoch is a good one to check out.
    If that doesn’t work there’s always basket weaving.


    • I recently discovered that Bukowski poem that has the quote that you mentioned. I try to read it before every writing session. I’d love to see some of your drawings – send some my way when you get a chance, if you’d like. I’ve tried collaging, but it didn’t really do anything for me. More than anything, I’d like to do comic book-style drawings. Most of the writing I did as a kid was comic books – the drawings were shit, but the stories…well they were all right. Some of the plot-lines I ripped straight out of the Indiana Jones movies. For example, I literally copied the screenplay of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” by watching it and just hitting “pause” and “rewind” a lot. Then I inserted MY characters in place of Indy and the gang. Man, writing was much easier when I was doing it THAT way…


      • Ha! That’s a cute story about the Indiana Jones plagiarizing. My little brother made a series of home movies when we were kids called ‘Evil Twin’ where he played himself and his evil twin, they’re hilarious. Sometimes he would ask me to help him with the shooting but I would get so irritated because he often would just be incorporating plots from bad Arnold Schwarzenegger films like ‘Commando’ into his storylines.
        But yeah, I can’t do comic book style drawings either. The way I draw, its like my pencil is a photo copier. My drawings look like photographs. Thy feel lifeless to me. I always wanted to be able to draw loose and playful and expressively. Honestly, I always wanted to draw like you but I wouldn’t even know how to try! I mean, I would be able to make an exact copy of your drawings but nothing original. Like when I was young i would spend days just copying M.C. Escher drawings and they would look exactly the same as the original but I was incapable of doing my own M.C Escher inspired drawings out of my head. I always needed a reference outside of my head.
        So I don’t even know if I have any drawings of mine to show you, because I always got rid of them out of frustration, but I’ll check. I never really draw anymore unless I need to. I recently was asked to design a logo for an Orchard and tried to draw it highly stylized (non photo realistic) and it was so hard for me! I did it all out of my head for once, no references, and it turned out OK but not great. You can see the rigidity in it.


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