Woman No. 9, paper collage, 2021
we have names for souls even now it’s only a matter of time before the ghost-keeper fools us as if death won’t follow us if we never leave the ground won’t untie the kissing thread and the antidote? spray paint your failures on the walls deliver the crow from its artificial cage the instinctual woman is migratory is the season and its endless undoing she is an assassin of flower beds of rose petals assembling in harvest or in protest the “I” in the vine imprinted like a passing train
Many of us, I think—artists, poets, creatives, especially—hunger for the depth and richness of primary experience. We get a sense of it when we are making, when we lose ourselves in the creative act, feel as if we are conduits for something greater. We let go. We reconnect with our senses. We move without thinking, as if to music only we can hear. And often we come away feeling as if we’ve danced the dance, participated in the rhythms of life and death, in being and nonbeing, even become more animal than human for awhile. It’s that feeling of contact, of primacy, of animality that’s become increasingly important to me over the years.
I want to know the world in that way. I want to see it raw. Indeed, I think many of us would gladly unsee the civilized world if we could and, in the process, unlearn a lot of what prevents us from flourishing, from becoming.
I think our souls crave goodness. Raw, natural, wild goodness as an antidote to what ails us. When we create, we get a sense that goodness lives within us. Or at least that it “touches” us somehow. I get that feeling in nature all the time. That I’m coming in direct contact with goodness. It is, for me, a kind of primary experience. I immerse myself in nature. I engage all my senses. And I get the distinct feeling that I am seeing goodness—that I’m looking at the soul in things.
I not only view nature as a source of goodness, but for me, it has also become a source of values. This, too, is a matter of primary experience. Of seeing. Of intuiting and understanding. Of somehow remembering that which our souls already know.
Prints for the artwork in this post are available in my Etsy shop.
To see more artwork like this, view the Nude Collection.