Posts Tagged ‘Poem’

“The Timeout” At West End Gallery


Why do you so earnestly seek
the truth in distant places?
Look for delusion and truth in the
bottom of your own heart.

― Ryōkan Taigu (1758-1831)


Do the deluded know the truth of who and what they are?

Or has their delusion replaced the truth at the bottom of their heart?

Can truth and delusion coexist within the heart of a person?

Or is truth a form of delusion in itself?

I think if we could figure this out, a lot of the problems of the world might fade away. Well, at least, not not seem quite so dire.

But that’s just the deluded opinion of one person…

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I was going to write something about gullibility this morning and while I was searching for something to kick off the post, a quote or an image, I came across this little bit of mirth from the late Shel Silverstein. It pretty much summed up everything you need to know about our willingness to often accept things that make no sense or are demonstrably false.

Of course, none of us will admit to wearing the plunger. We convince ourselves it’s a damn fine hat because Teddy or someone else, maybe someone named Donnie, says it is just that. If he says it looks good then it must, because he always tells us just what we want to hear and believe. We’re to smart and wary to fall for something other than the truth.

But in fact, we are actually like the character in All the King’s Men that Robert Penn Warren described: “I suppose that Willie had his natural quota of ordinary suspicion and caginess, but those things tend to evaporate when what people tell you is what you want to hear.”

And when someone is telling you that the toilet plunger on your head looks great, you really want to believe him. Because otherwise you’re just an idiot with a damn toilet plunger stuck on your head.

You know, whenever I see one of those godawful red hats on someone from now on, all I am going to see is that person with a toilet plunger on their head.

There’s a brain somewhere inside that bony box sitting between your shoulders, people. Take off the plunger and use it.



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shel-silverstein-listen-to-the-mustntsBusy day. But there’s always time for a little Shel Silverstein.

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Into the Common Ground/ GC MyersCommon Ground

Blood tells the story of your life
in heartbeats as you live it;
bones speak in the language
of death, and flesh thins
with age when up
through your pores rises
the stuff of your origin.

These days,
when I look in the mirror I see
my grandmother’s stern lips
speaking in parentheses at the corners
of my mouth of pain and deprivation
I have never known. I recognize
my father’s brows arching in disdain
over the objects of my vanity, my mother’s
nervous hands smoothing lines
just appearing on my skin,
like arrows pointing downward
to our common ground.

–Judith Ortiz Cofer


The painting above, a 36″ by 36″ canvas, is titled Into the Common Ground.  It is part of my exhibit of the same name that will open in early December at the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA.  I think the poem above from author Judith Ortiz Cofer fits very well with the theme of this show which is about recognizing the common bonds that are between us.

It seems that our world has become more and more fractured, the distance between people growing greater even as the world itself seems to be shrinking in so many ways.  We actively seek to find difference, something that distinguishes us from others.  And while I am an advocate of the individual and individualism, it should not come at the expense of losing the ability to identify the commonality that exists in all of us.  For to look in that mirror, as Cofer does in her poem, and not see the traces of your family and the influences of others written on your face is to lose empathy.

When empathy leaves, we fail to see the sufferings of others as our own, fail to imagine that such things could ever occur to ourselves.  The pain of others becomes dull and distant, unfelt to us as selfishness and greed pushes our empathy aside.  To lose empathy is to choose to live in a savage and ugly world.

And that is not the world that I see in this painting.

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