Wednesday Poem: The Artist and His Shadow

photo: Gabriel Guerrero Caroca

He is unfit for this life, this
unduly managed era devoid
of poesy and freedom, a time
of useless haste in honor of
the illusion of progress,
a life starving of life, a life
dripping with chains as dull-witted
bureaucrats and political
imbeciles run amok.

There’s something dark and peculiar in him
that forbids his full participation in
the blatant absurdity of
today’s world.

Even as a child he felt something
fierce was there in him — an unrest, an
unrealized freedom, something
shadowy but knowing,
a deep-seated primordial power
groping endlessly in the
apocalyptical night.

It’s still there, stirring in the
inmost abyss, this esoteric ghost,
this daemon, dwelling
in the shadows of the soul,
convulsing and throbbing like a
diabolical gypsy in the throes
of ecstasy.

He tries, at times, to wash it away
with morality and decency, bowing
down to the sanctified normalcy
of his fellow humans. But still,
it’s there, raging, taunting him,
hounding him, forcing him
out of the prison of SELF
and into the creative realm,
the destructive realm,
into the elemental kingdom
of existence.

It calls forth the spirit
into a higher dominion of being
and yearns for expression, this
enigmatic drive,
even at the cost of reputation
and alliance
and it tempts the body, the vehicle
of the soul, to thrive with
Dionysian defiance,
and it wants to flip over the table
of conventionalities and go to war
with all customary forms and
cultural norms.

It’s this archaic force that burns from
the most profound depths
of his being, an insatiable rapture
that coalesces the dark of the unconscious
with the universal light, arousing
the sheer realization of his
utter nothingness — the
true awakening.

He could hardly put on a mask and
endure the typical occupation, or
partake in the social games
of the ordinary, blindly acting
out his role on the stage of culture,
following the fashions of the
day, living uncritically as a
conditioned child.

with no creed or title and a
fierce contempt for conceptual
reality, he’s in spiritual exile
from the place and time
he was born into. Terribly
alone among his contemporaries,
by an arid society, an
aimless wanderer, he is, laughed at
by the well-adjusted, their minds
chloroformed with low-grade
entertainment, their meanings
and desires built into them
from the outside.

The more emaciated they are inwardly,
the showier they become outwardly.

But he cares nothing of status
and spectacle or the unimaginative
interests of the bourgeois, so he
ventures onward
an austere existence,
choosing the possibility of
poverty over pointless labor,
autonomy over dependency,
art over it all –

an unconditional renunciation
of a secure existence in
search of the sublime.

He’s in flight from the endless trivialities
that make up the modern world, choosing
instead to live perilously close to
the primal forces within.

His fate, he knows. He is doomed
to suffer alone.

When uninspired, the firm grip of melancholy
takes hold and he becomes the unhappiest
of mortals, endlessly sloshing around in
a cesspool of despair, nourishing
his apathy with whiskey and
mascara-smeared love.

But when enthused, he’s lit up,
galvanized, electrified, and his
heart is filled to the brim
with poetic rapture and the
forces at work within him
become relentless. He is
transformed into a mere
instrument of supremely
powerful forces,
consecrating and sacrificing
every fiber of his BEING to the
supreme task of
quenching the thirst
of a bone-dry

“O melodies above me in the infinite,
To you, to you, I rise.”

By: Erik Rittenberry @ Poetic Outlaws