I do a really good job of writing really bad poems. Since I write as many poems as some people go to the bathroom (for better or worse), God or natural law or the cosmos or what one believes is the ultimate force in the universe must be at play. Thems the odds. I’m well aware that every hare-brained scheme I get that winds up in a finished enough piece of writing can’t be fully realized as intended. That’s quite alright.

Kinda like life.

Often the bad poems start off a LOT worse and take an awful lot of head banging and effort to get as bad as they wind up! Bad since birth and from start to finish.


keep along on your way
toward that big great beyond
tell me why do you shudder
when the subject comes up?

i can see how you stammer
at the mere mention or inkling
and you flounder and waffle
and tremble and flitter

and dither away
cause there’s so much to do
important stuff mind you
in the future not behind you

a smoother transition
to that next time and space
talking if there even is one
if there is oh what fun

so get along now keep moving
we’ll be fine now ya see?
great beyond where you’ll be
you’ll be fine there trust me.

Nowhere fast! But I like the idea. And I feel it. I’ll work on it too much. It’ll take up time so if you ever happen to wonder what I’m about, tedium like this is about as good as my private time gets.  It’s not a matter of pulling the poem apart or analyzing or deliberately sitting down to make it “good”. That’s not how it works. I’ll be drawn back into it and chisel away as weeks go by. It’ll be in the background along with so much else.  I’ve written many MANY poems with a similar enough rhythm and structure, so it’s really not that big deal in and of itself. It’s not at all a complex twenty lines.

It just is.

As a writer-in-production, which is a subject of a whole ‘nother story, making my bad writing as good as I can and taking it as far as it can go is a big part of the craft.  Forever honing. Hopefully in the end it’ll be at least interesting. Or something. Cause things go up and down and I’m obliged to work on it all with equal aplomb. Hey you remember that hokey biorhythm chart thing right?  I have to embrace wherever the waves go, and laterally (again with that word). Therein lies the real creative challenge.

Bad writer, bad!

There’s growth in the drek, albeit the hardest. A while ago I wrote YIN TO YANG and always hated it. I still do (define hate). It was widely circulated and I got a stomach ache. I wanted people reading OTHER of my writing, writing I happen to love (with a different kind of stomach ache), the writing that for some reason got passed by in the night. Don’t get me wrong, most of what I write DOES get read, it’s not that. But I will say in all humility that as an artist I have much writing that I’m much attached to and I think is pure genius. If I didn’t why would I write it down in the first place?  Any artist worth his grain of salt, be it a writer or visual artist or rollerblader or whomever that wouldn’t say the same thing isn’t being forthright. If you love what you do then you show your ass, right?  With YIN TO YANG my whole feeling has always been to throw tomatoes at cars!  I worked months on it, patiently and deliberately trying to move it ahead. Into SOMETHING. Of course I didn’t work on it every day and was writing lots of other more agreeable things along the way thankfully. But I kept returning to it. The cadence and scheme would pop into my head while getting gas on my way to work. I’d fix it and fiddle with it, chastise and whip myself, love it, despise it.  Anyway I got to the point where I made that bad poem about as close and good as I could and took it as far as I could. And ought.


sometimes the world it seems so tired
in so much muck we get so mired
to greater good we shrug our shoulders
no longer strength to lug more boulders

when life no longer holds that magic
we once believed in oh so tragic
tough and jaded made of stone
we walk the desert all alone

where manners and gentility
have left with our nobility
civility tranquility
are memories now but soon we’ll see

the yin the yang it well could be
when oftentimes in history
embracing yin the yang will flow
and be back soon like flowers grow.

KILL ME. But I like the idea is the thing. The feel. That been the impetus. When I marry an idea I’m entrenched. Whether writing or visual art or rollerblading or whatever form of self-expression you do, to me it’s about being as close to the idea and feel and intent as possible. Even if you’re making mud pies. And why not? Should it be more? If one has an interest in authenticity?  For me that’s what determines success, whether good bad or ugly.

So the bad isn’t bad, it just is.

The other day I was in a gallery by myself, looking at a collage hanging on a wall. I overheard a couple critiquing it. She said, “well it’s not his best work.” He said, “well this was from his low period”

I thought it was nice. And it’s what the artist did.

It just is.

Just like this.



15 thoughts on “MUD PIES

  1. To think up something entirely yours is all that matters. if others like it, it is a big bonus! 🙂 And those poems are not bad, I like them!

  2. I think it happens to everyone — writers, artists, photographers, architects, whomever. Often times the work that gets most noticed, and often most liked, is the work of ours we like the least. It’s hard to understand why, sometimes. I do know sometimes we are too self-critical. And sometimes maybe we’re just off in our own dream worlds and are not on the same wavelength as the rest of the population is. I am beginning to try to get myself to appreciate the fact that someone likes what I’ve done; and just accept it on that level. I trust myself not to put total drek out there. Which, as someone who reads your blog every time you post, I know you do too.

    • Oh yes I have worse drek that never sees the light of day haha espeically stories. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the things I’ve had people try to do! 🙂 And yes it’s definetly otherworldly from a creative perspective which I hope I get across here. Neither good nor bad for me the challenge is finishing it up in some way that does it justice in its own right. “Close enough” :)Thanks for reading. I’m having a “Spring Wonderings of the Mystery of the Mechanics of the Muse”! (or something)

  3. No one will ever experience our art the way we do. At some point, you have to let it go. I’ll be jazzed with a though, and idea, or a string of dialogue then rush to write it down only to wake the next morning and think its crap. I’m surprised at your thought that all artists think they’re brilliant (genius)… I always thought it was the opposite the motivated. The pained artist struggles to make art out of mud. Oh…!!!!

    • Oh I always face my crap haha Some days it’s so crappy but other days it looks brilliant so who knows? And brilliant as in it makes a very personal impression on ME, the concept, I hold it close so it’s important., If I express it well enough that’s what matters. I would think from time to time any person who creates has to feel this. Why do it otherwise isn’t that what makes it gratifying? I’m asking! 🙂

      • I think I get a mood, an expression, or a feeling across and that feels good. Or a string of words together that sound so luscious you just want to eat them. But look at my post above… I thought I was writing something thoughtful and then look at all the typo’s. that’s funny actually, considering the topic of our discussion and your post. I have three writing contracts right now, by contracts I mean they pay and thats about as fulfilling as they get. I mean sure, I’m learning about topics I would otherwise never but I chuckle at the thought of finally being able to label myself a writer. I attended a writing conference in Boston last month (saw Robert PInsky read … lovely) but I just felt like a fish out of water. Maybe a fish out of water feels brilliant for taking the leap but eventually…..

  4. This part jumped out at me the most, “If one has an interest in authenticity? For me that’s what determines success, whether good bad or ugly.”
    Authenticity. Yup.
    Nice post. Thanks for sharing your process.

    • You started it haha I know you think about such things, what makes us do what we do and motivates us in the big scheme of things and how it affects us. So thanks! 🙂

  5. Personally, I enjoy your poems…they are fun and make me smile, but I think I’ve told you that before.

    I like the idea of not judging the work as good or bad. “It just is.” Takes away the self-critcism and worry about what others and facilitates authenticity.

    Authenticity in its own right is always “good” or a positive thing, in my humble opinion, because it adds one’s God-intended purpose or life energy into the world (not to get metaphysical on you, but I am not sure how else to explain it.)

    Is that a photo of you making mud pies? 😀

    • Not me actually but in spirit! Yes going for being as genuine as possible is really what I’m thinking and I’m all for the metaphysical slant, why not? Creativity is not particularly reasonable 🙂

  6. Pingback: Day 249. Go Figure | Three Hundred Sixty-Five

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