Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Don't Starve The Artist -06/02/2013


My brother in law calls
to tell me not to worry
that even if it meanders through
dole diaries and empty fridges
to keep following my own path
one he helped start me on
as a child

introducing me to Henry Rollins
Public Enemy, BDP, Ice T
and Arthur C Clarke
showing me Scorsese films
Lawrence of Arabia
the one-way swim in Gattaca

...and that cool way you should wear your sneakers

an endlessly lecturing
surrogate father
smartarse older brother
who taught me
when to rebel
when to listen
when to fight
and when to run

who helped a teenage boy
divide coolness from fashion
strength from force
size from substance
and price from a thing's value

and in years on
told a young man
to fucken shape up
remember his roots
to miss his family when away
instead of just always missing
their birthdays
and the older we got
the further we diverged

with every step he took towards
being the conservative greek father
he always wanted to be
I skulked farther and faster
down the road of the radical
childless careerless
anti-social artist

and now after years
of walls between us
built narrow and straight
he tells me finally
not to worry
don't starve the artist
that while there's nothing wrong
with how his own
family-man path unfolded,

that while this world already has
plenty of plumbers
anxious social workers
and tram drivers like him,
it has far too few
possessed enough
lucky or crazy enough
to follow their own dreams

he says down the phone
that he's proud of me
says he's come to be amazed
that people like me
can put words out into the air

trying to inspire
to change the way
we all think

this might be worse paid
but he believes now
it's still a better place
for me to be

less gifted than the gifts I get
my throat clenches up rock
the phone much heavier now
and I can't get tears out the way
for all my fancy ways of phrase
to tell him simply
as the simple way he said it...

just how much hearing his words mean to me




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