Wave at Sunset

Oils on 50 x 60 cm stretched canvas. In memoriam John Ashberry, and on a most happy anniversary of sorts.

“The Ongoing Story”
By John Ashberry, from A Wave

I could say it’s the happiest period of my life.
It hasn’t got much competition! Yesterday
It seemed a flatness, hotness. As though it barely stood out
From the rocks of all the years before. Today it sheds
That old name, without assuming any new one. I think it’s still there.

It was as though I’d been left with the empty street
A few seconds after the bus pulled out. A dollop of afternoon wind
Others tell you to take your attention off it
For awhile, refocus the picture. Plan to entertain,
To get out. (Do people really talk that way?)

We could pretend that all that isn’t there never existed anyway.
The great ideas? What good are they if they’re misplaced,
In the wrong order, if you can’t remember one
At the moment you’re so to speak mounting the guillotine
Like Sydney Carton, and can’t think of anything to say?
Or is this precisely material covered in a course
Called Background of the Great Ideas, and therefore it isn’t necessary
To say anything or even know anything? The breath of the moment
Is breathed, we fall and still feel better. The phone rings,

It’s a wrong number, and your heart is lighter,
Not having to be faced with the same boring choices again
Which doesn’t undermine a feeling for people in general and
Especially in particular: you,
In your deliberate distinctness, whom I love and gladly
Agree to walk blindly into the night with,
Your realness is real to me though I would never take any of it
Just to see how it grows. A knowledge that people live close by is,
I think, enough. And even if only first names are ever exchanged
The people who own them seem rock-true and marvelously self-sufficient.


Outside Bologna

Oils on 60 x 90 cm stretched canvas. 

Chocolate goats, the littlest one
frolicking just outside the fencing—
plush donkeys intermingling with
fat white geese and black chickens—
fresh milk and eggs for the restaurant
next door. A gray and white cat smiles
out from the open-air kitchen.
Summer feeds him, the grill fire,
the fields of lemon verbena
flowering on and on across the hills.
It’s rustic to city folk like us,
but this is civilization—
feeding so much.


In the sunshine of your 2 cents

Acrylic, gels, and 2 cent Euro coin on 20 x 50 cm stretched canvas. 

This morning, I got back to painting at last after a month of focus on my second poetry book in advance of the Poetry Brothel. I decided to start in acrylics in case I’ve forgotten how to paint. And to illustrate a poem, since that’s often my process. I’ve painted and thought about “Change your life”—a famous Rilke line and evidence-based Levitt instruction—a few times before. But just now finally illustrated my more recent poem on it, which I memorized and enjoyed performing Friday night…

“Change Your Life”

Flip a coin: quit, leave, or join?
You must change your life—but how?
More than one decision? Now?

Yellow satin and red butterflies—
you have a heart that’s worn them out
and so do I. No one wants to see you cry.

Except me, perhaps. I’d rather see you try
and fail than not try at all.
Put it out there. The draft. The dream. The gall.


Poetry Brothel Berlin 2.0 Success

It was a dark and smoky night in a typically dark and smoky Berlin club. That explains why there are no pictures of the amazing Poetry Brothel Berlin 2.0 at Insomnia last Friday. Yes, that explains it. OR DOES IT? (Sorry, I’m still in full Lynchian mode from the event theme.)

Performers and VIPs got these pretty bracelets that say: Poetry Brothel Berlin—The poets are not what they seem, a reference to Twin PeaksI can’t bring myself to throw mine away, or to take off the nail polish I wore for this for the first time since I was about 9 years old. Although cooking and painting are rapidly doing that for me…

Thanks and praise to writer and Madame Nathalie Dewalhens‘ three months-long masterminding since our last (and first) successful Poetry Brothel Berlin, show shepherdess Jos Porath’s careful herding, my hot sweet man Rop’s sound engineering, all my friends who came out to support me and have fun, and a whole lot of creativity and effort from a whole lot of other talented people. It was super cool to work with poetic comrades old and new—including the people who came from the original Poetry Brothel New York—including the grand Madame who started it all and Executive Director of the Poetry Society of New York, Stephanie Berger… And from Poetry Brothel London—with whom I’ve been invited to perform at their upcoming Nov. 18 Arts Theatre West End show: the Wildean Years.

How is that even a thing? And who do I send? My original Poetry Brothel incarnation—Felicia Faust in her steampunk incarnation? Felicia in her more recent, Lynchian form? Maybe something in-between, with a bit of a period flavor from before and a bit more, Lynchian glam (of which Wilde would surely approve)? In any case, I’m already as Wildean as they come.

Who could have guessed, when I changed my name to Wilde and moved to London a few years ago to make art, that I would get to do all that while pretending to be a whore? If you’re in the neighborhood, I’d love it if you came to see me. And if you’re the Tate’s Turner curator, get ready for my questions about where those unburned-after-all cunt drawings are at. I’m onto you and I’m back in town.