change gears without grieving (like the cat) / an artist’s nonlinear manifest-o for the new decade

 Jimmy Patterson on our mantel


change gears without grieving (like the cat)
an artist’s nonlinear manifest-o for the new decade

it’s not precious but it’s also everything
brokering materials through my hands
pressing forward, pulling back,
let an arc rise and fall, a curve curls around a desire,
alignments form
negative ease is
still ease
things turn into other things
I guess that’s my job.

floating suspended in liminal spaces, eyelids soft,
exhaling in wait then connecting, hands on brain on,
I return to form and materials
I’m the conduit things move through
(Well, technically, I am the resistance),
while watching sideways, I mean, it’s rude to stare
and of course:
no. flash. photography.

no need to name this transformation
or, let’s face it,
any of them.

technique as a tool (not a master)
breath as a guide
space as a tool too
time as a toy
objects then take the shape they take.

work is not a job
work is The Work, and
I’m here and I’m not here
every day
(punching in, punching out)

Okay so let’s

change gears without grieving, like the cat
(there is room for grieving elsewhere)
and then
accept full repose (the cat, again)
and also — the cat knows:
dispense small, timely warning bites.
I get this now. I get this.

learn the dirt,
learn the sky, learn the heads, shoulders, knees and toes
(knees and toes)
name the dirt without forgetting
but drop this vigilance:
our souls need no armed guards.

every day let’s get from zero to one.
sacrifice is happening regardless.
(it’s not a word reserved for wars and death,
it’s ours too, it always has been)
plus
it’s not a choice
it adds no drama
it’s not an extra topping
or a sprinkle
it’s just the day
unfolding.

— helen carter 


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