Thursday, June 18, 2015

Artists

    I don't think I have ever learned about an artist without eventually discovering that they are or were, by definition, "stubborn" about their work.
    I understand that because, for the most part, people don't give a shit. And artists, ever more so from day to day, as things we perceive continue to accelerate, must try to conceive, to build, to make someone stop and look and stare and read what the artist has made in order to make it worthwhile for the viewer to stay awhile, possibly with: coffee, beer, soda, punch, popcorn, wine and cheese, sour batch kids, etc. Esoteric mini pancakes.
    It's really hard to explain that to someone looking up from their complimentary grapes and Gouda, wishing only that a football game was on in front of them. It's also conceited, but possibly unavoidable. It's an expectant ego that manifests itself in the act of making, but broods pensively in presentation.
    I've heard a lot of people describe artist by saying "they do what they love." That is bullshit. The most unnecessary pain that ails an artist is their art. It's not love. It is a cathartic expression of their belief that they need to continue what they are are doing, and fuck all, if it doesn't feel good to breakthrough to ecstasy and epiphany with what they eventually make. There is nothing I have discovered in this life, outside of possibly a good orgasm or a perfectly cooked scallop, that is better for connecting with humanity.
    Well, except maybe music.
    Artist's do not suffer. Well, they do suffer, but not constantly. They endure, despite health, social norms, financial situations, lack of modern comforts (both nearly essential and superfluous.)
    A lot of them become famous after they die. It's because they never had an agent. This sucks, because an artist without an agent is usually a goldmine after they are dead.
    I have no explanation for this, only examples:
    Vincent Van Gogh is an easy one.  
    Henry Darger is a queasy one.

Aaron C. Molden    

Thursday, June 11, 2015

She

She runs through my mind like a saw blade,
cutting up lyrical thoughts of prose
into short outbursts of vulgarity.
She was never truly mine,
but this does not stop me from seeking her out;
sometimes overtly and sometimes with restraint.
She is not beautiful, for the word beautiful
carries too much an air of cliche.
She is vital, and she is flawed.

We are all flawed,
and this lesson I learned painfully.
It taught me a lesson I would not soon forget.

Despite how often I try to play it cool,
when I am with her
(when I am so blessed to be near her)
I suspect she knows exactly how I feel
about her. Let's not call it love.
Let's call it, at least, mild rapture.
This both terrifies me and exhilarates me.
I miss her, for she is so far away:
geographically, psychologically, physically,
but still within eye's snatch of a screen shot.
She is both a woman and a kinetic starburst
to me.

She has a favorite book that I do not like,
even though I tried to read it
before I had ever met her.
I tried to read it again. I still do not like it.
Some thing about Brit Lit doesn't fit me.

She has a more interesting occupation
than I do. I pay attention to that
because it is always genuinely interesting
to hear about. It is a way to get a glimpse
of someone's life; how they are living.
It is why I like singer-songwriters.
It can be like hearing a Neil Young
or Elliot Smith or Tori Amos
or Bruce Springsteen...
this could go on for awhile,
so I'll cut to the chase...
Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan song.

I want her to see the movie
The Red Shoes, directed by Emeric Pressburger.
I want to see her face as she watches
the final dance sequence.

I don't know if she likes the band.
I wish she were here now so I could dance with her.

"See the man up there with the stage fright,
just standin' up there giving it all his might.
He got caught in the spotlight,
but when they get to they end
he wants to start all over again."
-Rick Danko

Off topic:
I'm not worried about insects evolving
and eventually rising up against humanity,
the way Heinlein speculated in Starship Troopers
or Vollman did in You Bright and Risen Angels,
because, I figure, for how long humans
have been luring insects to their deaths
using the temptation of light,
by now, the insects would have developed
a religion that warns against that temptation
in order to truly become a threat to
modern humanity.
By my understanding, the complete overthrow
of a global or semi-global status quot,
takes, at the bare minimum, at least 2,500 years.
Twenty five hundred is how I would say it,
speaking this tangent to her;
hoping I wouldn't be met with her blank stare.
We don't see eye to eye on some things.
It makes this tangent glaringly pointless,
but I would never erase it.
In fact, I don't think I can.

I listen to Joni Mitchell and think
about the last time I danced with her.
As of now, it is still enough
to keep from embarrassing myself
in front of my self.

This is why I write:
to excuse myself by owning a dictionary.

We both think about suicide
in both a rational and academic way,
and an irrational and emotional way.
It's an existential portal to the core
of someone's mind.
I gravitate towards this thought,
healthy or not.
Seeing her activates an impulse within me
that I sometimes cannot control.
She can be, at most, ecstasy
and I can't shake that.

I am always hoping she is well,
unless she finds a way to hurt me
in a nearly complete way.
I lick my wounds
until they do not hurt anymore.
Then, I find her again.

Aaron C. Molden


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Decline

This is America.
We do not live within the context
of daily tragedy,
like a lot of the rest of the world
we occupy as a nation.
The necessity to strive for survival
gives way to the boredom and pathos
of excess thought process:
a beautiful gateway to consumerism
as holy,
so long as your local storefronts
and digital screens
continue to provide
new and interesting distractions.
I write this knowing I am,
and will be, guilty of such distractions
from time to time...
Sometimes more than I wish.
We are allowed to dwell on tragedy;
we analyze it and absorb it
deep within our skin,
sinew, muscle, bones, organs, mind.
Such benefits of thought render us
invalid in our reaction time.
When my reaction time exceeds
the average American
I begin to worry.
I worry.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Abortion

    She decided to have the abortion.
    When she first found out she was pregnant the only thing she understood was that she was unsure how to proceed. For the first two and half decades of her life she never imagined that she might want to be a mother. Now, she was unsure.
     After she graduated from college, she found a job a an administrative assistant at a clothing company she followed in a New York fashion magazine she had been subscribed to since she was in high school. She came from a modest, but lively Midwestern town. At an early age she would have already known this position was nothing short of a dream job. She would be in the fashion industry.
    She had always been a pretty girl and she made sure, as soon as she understood it would be to her advantage, that she would always be prettier; more attractive to both men and women, if she was conscious and discerning of what she wore. For as long as her friends could remember, when she saw something in a catalog or magazine or in a department or thrift store and she truly believed it, she would tell them how good they would look in it. "You have to try this on."
    Can't you see? It was a dream job.
    She put up with a lot of shit her first year at the company. She put up with it with a smile on her face for the first few months, but eventually she started to give shit back. She also gave her opinions and her ideas about fashion to people she respected, as well as, people she did not agree with. Someone from the company noticed and was impressed. Within a year she was hired on as a fashion agent. She and several others had a collective budget for research and development. She understood that fashion was never finished and, at her age, she was very happy this was true.
    There were always men around (there always are) who would make advances: old industry creeps, mail-boys, corporate men, moody man-boys in the copy writing and creative department, etc. She had sex with some of them when the loneliness of being by herself another night seemed unbearable. Some of them were just friends though, and she would spend the night with them, laying in her sweatpants; they would talk as they would hold her in their arms; both men and women she knew and loved.
    Those nights where we must not be alone.
    She loved many of them, if only for a time, but she required herself to be eventually disappointed with the relationships at least 50% of the time. The other 50% were banked in her mind for longing when she needed it.
    With this mindset she met him. He was smart, but not overly arrogant. He was attractive, but not overtly narcissistic; this would later manifest itself more apparently when he revealed his true life goals which did not involve her. He was bookish, but still faintly athletic, with enough muscle structure to make her believe he could be a model if he tried a little harder; for some reason she was glad he didn't try harder. He cared about the things he wore (of course, for he was in R and D, as well), but had a hard time flat out admitting it. He remembered being a know-it-all when he was younger, so he tried to fight the urge as an adult; sometimes he failed at this. He apologized when he was wrong, always hoping to make amends, earnestly, for the mistakes he made.
    She told him she was pregnant with their baby.
    "What should we do?"
    "I don't know."
    There was a long silence. He had his head down and she pensively ran her fingers through her long brown hair. She was looking out the window of her small Brooklyn apartment.
    "You should get an abortion."
    This surprised her; his blunt statement. He was the only suitor she could honestly remember thinking I could have this man's child, and after just a short thought, he believed she shouldn't. He couldn't.
    She said "I need to think about it."
    She decided to have the abortion. He paid for it and held her and kissed her after they left the clinic. She cried into his shoulder. "I don't if I can take how I feel right now." she said, her voice muffled in his shirt sleeve.
    "You're going to be alright." He said earnestly. "I'll be here for you." It's not that he didn't want to have children. It's not that he didn't want to have children with her. It was simply too soon. As talented as they both were (she was an agent and he was a field photographer for the fashion company) it would have been nonsense for them to give up on their dreams.
    She suddenly felt flush with a white hot rage within her. "Why would we have to give up on our dreams." She screamed as she pushed him away from her. She punched him in the chest with as much force as she could muster at the time. It did not hurt him, but he knew she meant it. "Tears began streaming down her face. "We could have been a team. We didn't have to give up anything, you asshole. We just would have had to adapt."
    He put his head down and clenched his forehead with his fingers.
    She looked at him with his head down. "Despite what you may think about this relationship, we are not together. I can't be with you after this."
    He looked up at her.
    "I thought I loved you, but I was wrong."
    She found a better job at the same magazine she had been subscribed since she was in high school. Before she found out she was pregnant, she had sent her personal portfolio of recreational fashion writing to the magazine and they turned out to be impressed. "The way you describe these printed pencil skirts is divine." The slender woman with solid white hair, all black pant suit, and thick rimmed glasses with circular lens announced as she sat in her office. "It's as if I'm seeing them myself, or better yet, wearing them."
    She was offered the new writing job after the abortion and she took it. She eventually became head writer. After that, eventually, editor in chief.
    She got married. Or she didn't.
    I wrote this story.
    It's not the worst thing she regrets, but it haunts her from time to time.
    It haunts him sometimes, too.
    After she started writing professionally they never saw each other again.

Aaron C. Molden