Rhapsody of Art

An Ecstatic Vision


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Only You

You can let down your guards

but do not let down your eyes.

Despite going through the blood-shed of failure

and the romance of intentions

stay close to the accumulating truth.

It is yours.

It is only a handful

but it is what you have brought back

from what you were born knowing

from the dark swim to the bottom

in a drowning world

you have brought back an island.

 

Take that fistful of yourself

and do not shake any hands

do not make any deals

for love or shame

to give yourself away.

 

There are many waiting

who would love you

until you love them too

who would favor you

until your trust is earned

because they are gambling empires

for a handful of that truth.

 

I urge you to believe in yourself—

however, there are times

when believing will unfold such a deep wound

when believing will unravel every seam

that I would not blame you

for turning away.

Our strengths are furrowed with weakness

sometimes our graves are closer than our dreams

when we are flat on our chests

we can kiss the ground.

 

The ones we love may not swim with us

and as we plunge into still darker waters

it is not their fault

only a chance disaster

arranged by fate

because sometimes our own strength

keeps us swimming in circles.

 

I am sorry the way is not easier for you.

As a poet, I will never become a preacher

I will never thrust meaning onto your chest

not when I when I know, all too well

the burden we already carry

and the value of open arms.

 

Walk the path of your own

blood-filled drum

drink the sap of your own heartbreak

the spice of crushed attempts

 

keep one hand empty

and the other full of that piece of life

that came from you

that was born of you

that is

gripped from a thousand deaths

only you.

Only You.

 


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The Bargain

 

When someone comes into your life

do not gamble your power for Love

and it’s many messengers…

common dignity does not ask for such a sacrifice

what could love possibly need from you?

Keep your power always brimming

to the rim of your bone cup, drink

the vital juice of every cell

admire the mountain ranges that stand

when you enter a room

let the whimpering and the cowards

feel uncomfortable around your truth…

Undercutting your true will, or your dazzling intelligence

your epic wonder,  or your star-shot clairvoyance,

is not love.

Be a samurai with your tongue, undress the world with your eyes

carry your dreams like children

because it is not in the budget of loving anyone

to sacrifice yourself

and if they say anything else

then they are bargaining for a profit, guaranteed.


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Searching

How did I come so far

with only half of myself?

One eye staggers awake

the other— a companion

deep inside the roots of light.

I have been burning this country

down to its knees

begging for love

every stack of flames, my pain

every pillar of smoke, a village

looking for someone else.

This has gone on through every shell

of boyhood— every burning muscle of manhood

blanched in the heat of work

clearing trails through thunderheads

of white ash

I forget why I’ve wandered so far from home.

I search for hilltops, to sit

and take a breath

reminders

that the seed is no longer broken

that these orbits of confusion

are a wonder

and I will someday find myself

growing in the world.

Candle Character

 


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Battered Fruit and Water

There is nothing to say

when there is too much to swallow.

 

The fruit of the tongue

sometimes speaks with bruised understanding

whilst a tired garden is being robbed.

 

Pouring soiled water into our cup

fills us with thirst.

 

But the same water that created thirst

cuts canyons through the heart of the earth

and will return again

to fill the stem of a wild herb.

 

The fire inside our mouth

was also a breath from inside the sky.

We are oceans

and every moon is trying to shape us.

 

Don’t get confused counting circles in our heads—

We have to hold our own water

Step up and see the sphere of existence

And never sell our ship

to the eyes

laughing in the waves.

Flower Character 001


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2016 Ecstatic Poetry Retreat

We’re about one week out from the 2016 Ecstatic Poetry Retreat! There is still time to join us. If you’re curious, some of the material that we’ll be offering at the retreat is found in my most recent blog posts. For registration details, visit (Events and Readings) and then for sign up, follow the link on that page.

 

It’s been a beautiful journey getting here with ya’ll… Ecstatic Poetry has certainly made an impact on my life. This is why I’m passionate to share it with you.

 

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Language (the Groundwork of Expression)

We have the craft of language as a culturally appropriated medium, one through which ideas and concepts migrate, from generation to generation, proliferating our experiences with meaning.

 

Language is a megalithic topic… I cannot discuss all of the elements and subtle factors that comprise the speech and communication of human beings. But I am an Ecstatic Artist, and through any medium we choose to express our authentic inner Essence, there is a language that we are using to convey our moments of truth.

american-sign-language-jesus-eloise-schneider

Language may refer to more than words and grammar. Language is communication. This applies to all Art. If you are a Poet, you have words, structure, imagery… If you are a painter, you’re speaking with form, color and subject… A photographer is communicating with light and object… a musician learns chords, rhythm and harmony… this is language, the groundwork of our artform which we are using to deliver meaning, from creation to audience.

 

With this understanding, Language can be broken down to two basic, yet, primary elements.

  Impression.

Impression is a kind of natural imprint which changes according to the ever adaptable need to communicate with humanity.

Impression is our innate capacity to communicate. This is not to be disregarded- in fact, it is a sublime relief. Every human being is born with the genetic imprint to develop a means to communicate their experiences.  A child knows how to dance to music before s/he is capable of learning music theory. We all understand how to communicate words, even if we are illiterate. Ancient mankind used color and symbols to express their cultural paradigms long before rhetoric on the artform was invented…our-ancestors

Language was an oral tradition for thousands of years before we developed written symbols and theory. Decades of heritage as orators does not erase itself easily. It exists within us… trust your oral instinct! Every artist must become intimate with their organic intuition for expression. Trust it…

Myth and Storyinanna

We’ve all been inoculated with the same ancient feeling for meaning, and with each new generation, it evolves. This gives rise to the fleeting use of slang and memes, fitted for a precise time and people. It also retells ancient stories with new contexts, the Hero’s Journey retold again and again- from the Sumerian myth of Inanna, who traveled to find her sister in the underworld, to Neo in The Matrix, who returns to the depths of the Matrix in order to uncover truth from illusion.neo-the-matrix

Myth is not a classical category of selected Greek or Medievil authors. It is far beyond collegiate categories… Myth, at its true essence, is the visionary tour-de-force of the human imagination. Using the Voice of the human story, Myth wears many garments… each culture dresses the journey differently. With as much variation as Nature, we adorn and elaborate the forces of our world— transformation, justice, love, hopelessness… and with powerful storytelling and visionary world-building, we capture the hero’s heart inside us all.

Institution.

Institution seeks to organize language into common standards to establish longevity of interpretations.  

 

Institution is the other side of the artist’s coin… Here we have the theorized and indoctrinated content of our particular language. This is where speech is preserved into grammar, Dance is developed into Expression Theory, or Cooking becomes Culinary Arts. It is the human tendency to preserve knowledge and define the craft of our communication. I am performing this very function right now, writing this article, distilling the essence from an action that comes from our nature. Communication is inseparable from the structure that guides and enhances our meanings. with-no-language-gun-legler

 

As artists, this institution of theory deserves our attention. Within each of our languages for self expression, there is a craft, defined by tools, materials, skills… we have the opportunity to understand the structure of our work for the sake of enhancing the integrity of our intuitive expressions. As we learn the elements of our craft, we develop a deeper understanding of the devices that are communicating our message, allowing inept delivery of our truths.

 

Institution and Impression inform each other. The formal knowledge of Institution acts as a touchstone for creative exploration… meanwhile, Impression is the heritage of all formal theorizing. Together we are communicating the Essence of our collective experience.

be-free


 

 

 

 


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Finding Voice

Voice is the unique interest and essence that defines what is brilliant and familiar within your art—The inner-most organic expression of an individual.

The Arhcer; Arrow

So many of us are looking for our voice– There is power inside our voice. It is not only a style of language, an angle of diversity, or an edge within a topic… Voice comes loaded with the incentive to impact the world. We feel encouraged, fearless, worthy of providing our community with our unique vision.

Finding Voice is simultaneous with discovering ourselves…

There are four keys to finding our Voice.

Initiation:

When we find our medium for expressing Voice, it is not so different than finding love… the coincidental richness  and intense thriving of first-contact with Voice can slingshot the artist into a freshness of discovery. We begin to see transformation occur and we become a deep pool of expressive material… we find ourselves growing thirsty to practice our developing skills, we are eager to mingle with our emotions,  a longstanding heartache may, at last, find an outlet of healing. cropped-cropped-dsc_1049.jpg

There comes a point when its not as easy, distraction pulls us, responsibilities take hold of our hearts, and quickly, interest wanes. Some sensitive individuals may diverge at the first glimpse of their unresolved fears and excuses…

However, for the artist who desires to deepen their skill, we must persist beyond the initial “slump” of intense freshness that inspired us at the start, and effort ourselves to find new angles in which to love our practice, and ourselves.

Imitation:

A way to expand the potential of our new-found skills is to begin imitating the styles and techniques of artists whom we respect and revere.

It is important to allow ourselves the freedom to imitate. Just as children imitate their parents in order to develop the mechanics of movement and mannerism, so must the artist discover which techniques are attractive and which ones are a limitation.

Dance in the WaterBy imitating the styles of other artists we begin to taste our own potential. We may experience resistance to this approach, because there exists a belief that, in order to be an artist, we must be producing completely new concepts, all the time. But this is not the truth. The creation of originality comes from your Voice, therefore, any attempt to awaken your Voice is a valid action of artistic integrity. So go on the hunt, find art that speaks to you, and then apply the methods, play and experience.

Watch out for attachment. We will find ourselves gravitated toward the styles in which we receive the most recognition. We become fixated with our current burrowed style and quickly slip into identifying with it… but that style was only on loan… It is important to regularly break out of the shell. We do this by sharing our work. Reveal your work to the world– perform, go to workshops, collaborate with other artists… they will act as a positive mirror,  and the reactions of our audience (including the inevitable lumps of criticism) will reveal the elements that shine from our unique Voice.

Adaptation

After some vulnerability and some empowering performances of your craft, we will gradually identify with the true aspects of Voice. There comes a point where there is no longer a separation, rather, our unique quality as an artist will continue to evolve through the many challenges, shortcomings, and visions that await the life of an artist. Our style may change, our genre may change,  we may dive into completely obscure projects, but our sense of self, our Voice, will grow from the foundation of anything we do…

Life is BeautifulIt is important to be flexible to change. The path of Art is transformative. We will shed the skin of our psyches. We will leave behind obsolete belief systems. We will raise families. We will encounter financial unrest. Our dog will die.

The only way to progress through the variations of challenge is to practice…

Practice is the act of repeated engagement that aims to develop our personal performance… it gives us the opportunity to develop the right behavior to consciously say to ourselves: I am doing this… and then doing it.

Setting a standard of discipline for ourselves maintains our spirit and develops channels for accessing Who We Are when we are in the flow of our creation. By honoring our creative spirit, we will find ourselves meeting our life situations with more grounded creativity and a deeper sense of respect for ourselves.

Inspiration:

Inspiration is honored throughout the lifetime of an artist. It is our life-blood as creative vessels to find the currents which arouse us into awakening. By involving ourselves in the path of our own evolution, we begin to integrate the energizing reality of our own existence into a nourishing furnace of creative ideas.

It becomes the artist’s duty to honor our inspiration by creating, taking notes, choosing visions to develop into the next stages, and recognizing that there is a force behind the ignition of a vision– by getting out of our own way and being open to the process, an artist becomes pregnant with the Art to awaken the spirit of the world.

 

Candle

Join The Ecstatic Poetry Retreat: October 14th – 16th…

We will Explore our Art and Discover more through our Voice.

Join Us