Monday, February 26, 2018


The Artist (Vitiated)
A.S. Coomer

The man is capable of beauty
I’ve seen it
He’s got a hand that can sing;
gives voice to the smallest detail
depth to a shallow, static medium

He used to work in the comics
I remember towering dinosaurs
& crisp printed pages
Now he designs headstones
I shit you not
& the death involved is symbolic
There’s art there but with it a cold,
A nod to the bygone years of color and flash
And, yeah, he still makes art
on the side
but instead of spreading that love
that beauty,
that way of understanding & interpreting
the tangles of life & love & community
he likes to get on the internet
& spew such tired tirades
senseless misappropriations of fact & rationality,
and, of course, #fakenews

Word is the president is looking to put on a Grand Military Parade
& this doesn’t sound like something a batshit, wannabe tyrant
with failing support and crumbling control would do at all,
does it?

I made this comment, on the internet,
&, you guessed it, the man had to chime in
Said the country would parade honest FBI officials down the streets of the capital too,
if there were any

Jesus, I thought.
This man can make Art. He can bring to life whatever he can conjure up
I’ve seen his work in person,
photos never really do justice do they?
I’ve seen the clarity he’s capable of
the perfectly straight lines so far from the tangled mess that he presents politically
& I want to scream
I want to cry
I want to tell him he’s wasting it
throwing it away for a faulty ideology
for smallpox blankets
for systematic racism and rampant sexism
for insults and bullying and might-makes-right
for Hatred with a capital H

I felt my heart pounding in my chest
beating much too quickly, with far too much force,
& I questioned this. Why should I care so much?
Why should I let myself be affected by the hatred reflected by a distorted mirror?
You can’t choose your family & all that
but family he is.

I told him I was embarrassed by the things he says
in his internet posts
He told me that I’d be embarrassed of myself
after I mature
& now I question maturity
What does it mean to age? To mature?
Does it come with an overriding sense of self-importance
the covetous icy heart of the haves
and the itchy, reaching hands, veined & wrinkled,
smacking their own excess away from the have-nots?

I want to tell him that I believe he’s still capable
of beauty
of love
of understanding
That there’s enough to go around
That there’s plenty for us to believe in
That the way forward isn’t back

That, maybe, just maybe, despite his age,
he may still not understand how sharing works
That, maybe, maturity is knowing that we’re all in this
That we only get one shot at it
and, if so, why not spend it ALL on kindness?
Why not put it all on Hope and spin the wheel?

I ended up telling him that he backed the wrong horse
—the between-the-lines screaming for a change of perception
a recasting of tired, guilty eyes
a new mold for seeing
a plea for purging for all that misguided hatred
I mean, the man’s an Artist, he’s capable of so much more—

So, yes, I told him he backed the wrong horse,
a hate-mongering, orange-tinged horse at that,
a tupeed mane is a mane nonetheless
& he’s definitely galloping towards...
but I don’t think it’s anywhere near
Makingamericagreatsville, USA.
It might be more in the vicinity of
and can’t we, as artists, imagine a better future?

--A.S. Coomer

A.S. Coomer is a writer, artist, and musician. Available novels: Rush’s Deal (Hammer & Anvil Books/Lit Fest Press) & The Fetishists (Grindhouse Press). Forthcoming novels: The Devil’s Gospel (The Wild Rose Press) & Shining the Light (Atlatl Press). His most recent recording, goddamn it anyway, came out 2/16/18.  

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