Slouching from Insanity, Words Like Acrylic

Poetic tribute to James Condos

Outsider artist
savant, held to inside
ceremonies, cutting images
through corridors of twenty-four
hour pacing, moments frozen
now old man, four-year
old, cowering, towering old
man pummeling, never
knowing beatings
might capture silver-tone
print screams, horrors
strapped to toilet, flash
grenade of father’s
grip choking child

lifting memory
collages, obsessive
compulsive, artistry
primitive, outsider
critics say, yet more
from the art-heart
than Whitney Museum
fame, pedantic
snobby, oceans from
blessed brain, ruptured
from trauma, rapture
grasped with ink, pen
avalanche of colors
this fellow falls on the
spectrum of something
bi-polar, schizophrenic
depression like a cave
holding him to essence
of art, cutting out images,
pasting flowers like rhinestones

mental illness, madness
retardation, diminished intellectual capacities
tidal waves of not wanting finishing
sinking into well
looking up is down
traveling outside circles
yet art is captivating, surreal
flow from flowing
energy from out-pouring
out-flowing and inside
clouds exiting ears
pedestals from turkey bones
feathers, wire, shotgun shells
Chinese coins, fragrances
left on the soles of souls
all fiber for painting

father pounding down bourbon
vodka tonics kicks to the gut
gin head butts
boy no longer
sees through orbits
drudges brain
paddies of light
lifting cities
mists and talismans
boy no more man

he’s that bird
rotting beak
eyes like fig seeds
the color of robin
side of road
boy sees discard
“I wish I was that bird”
he circles, the death
life to his fingers
painting breath
flight chugging
avian walk

child to man boy
teen to child infancy
arrested juvenile
forever balancing
light despair distance
only harmonious with
light odors fleeting
genius, calling anyone outside
child prodigy
victim no more
father mother sister brother
drinking in man’s art
magnificent memory
stymied no more
lifting inside sanity
for this insane world
colors tones multiple perspectives
like Phoenix rising
image over image
his forgetting

*inspired by the film, I Wish I Was that Bird, Jeffrey Krolick

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.