A. Sea Herndon

The Poetry of A. Sea Herndon

Month: March, 2014

The First Commandment

The First Commandment

 

False gods are frequent

and easy to find.

We see them well,

but where we are blind

is not raising up bad

to improper levels,

but casting down good

and making false devils.

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You Are Like God In That

You are like God in that”

You are like God in that

I have heard others speak of you

far mysterious

cruel indifferent

bold intelligence everlasting

But you are no judge

no deliverer of hell

kindest companion

ever loving

ever present

soul of my soul

joy of my heart

peace everlasting

hope above all hope

the song and source of Heaven

no mean measure

but bounty

They do not understand

dear friend

love of my life

I am because you are

They know not

whereof they speak

and you are like God in that

Paradise Regained (Falling in the Mud at the Park)

Paradise Regained (Falling in the Mud at the Park)

He recalls the fruitless trees

She recalls a park, not garden

hand-in-hand they walked as dark

gently softened all that’d hardened

no serpent ever bound or loosed

has power to tempt True Love in youth

and He fell first, back to the mud

from which all Human Life had come

the dust of Adam

Noah’s flood

the wounds of Christ

bumps and bruises

scratches

blood

Laughing at the Fall of Man

She reached down

He pulled Her in

She’d never wanted more to fall

He’d never wanted more to rise

no muddy clothes in Paradise

their naked smiles

rejoiced therein

each others eyes

She was you

and He was I

that day with you

in Paradise

“the only prayer is lonely prayer is”

The only prayer is lonely prayer is”

the only prayer is lonely prayer is

pray I may I might I must

not confess, impress, success

but troubled, trembling, smile and trust

no smaller taller silver dollar

holler collar come-ye-aller

but gather rather all together

sermons simple on the shelf

goodness Godness help this oddness

learn to blessed be itself

To My Bohemian Friends, On Considering Your Audience

To My Bohemian Friends, On Considering Your Audience

The bad Southwestern paintings hung with love

upon the faux-stained walls of wealthy dentists’ wives

the tepid pastel abstracts favored by

those minds preoccupied with planning perfect parties

the schmaltzy harmless friendly tunes

piped in among the stacks of kale

to ease the uneasy indigestion

of wholesome healthy liberal-leaning

organic shoppers

the shiny happy dorm room posters plastered:

picture of the Beatles, lock-stepped, crossing Abbey Road

the t-shirts, black, and always darling

on children, white, and always darling

advertising Bob Marley or Nirvana

the Starbuck’s poets’ freshly minted Ginsberg paperbacks

all prove the world still needs transcendence

and no one thirsts for Art like the bourgeois

Requiem (Autumn in Tulsa/Springtime in Perth)

Requiem

It was autumn in Tulsa

and springtime in Perth

when the wedding bells rang out

from St. Joseph’s Church

 

Where he lay in the alley

with a cross ’round his neck,

like a bottle of Mad Dog

all broken and spent.

 

No, I didn’t bring flowers,

but I witnessed his death

and stood like a coward

to steal his last breath.

 

He said, “The problem, you see,

is nearly everyone but me

is a pusillanimous

son of a bitch.

 

Yeah, they’ll look brave and bold,

they’ll act cool and cold,

but on the Sabbath they will leave you

like an ox in a ditch.”

 

So I turned back into the rain,

pulled my collar up close,

and forgetting his pain

I headed back home.

 

‘Cause the sunsets and seasons

are all fictions of this earth:

When it’s autumn in Tulsa,

it’s Spring, springtime in Perth.

 

(c) 2011, A. Sea Herndon (BMI). Listen to an audio version here.

NOTE: For readers not in the U.S., Mad Dog is American slang for MD 20/20, a cheap fortified wine that is often associated (rightly or wrongly) with the homeless and otherwise disenfranchised.

 

photo (9)

Happy Vernal Equinox! Backyard peach blossoms in bloom. “Do I dare to eat a peach?” Yes, Prufrock, eat the peach.

Holy Fool’s Lullaby

Holy Fool’s Lullaby

Well I could drink myself to sleep

but what’s the use in countin’ sheep

if the wool that keeps you warm cannot be found?

Well the Lamb of God they say

way back in them Bible days

was quickly curtly run right out of town.

I know it’s a dead man’s walk I pace

and if the whole damn human race

decided they would crawl, I might catch up.

But there’s nothing that I find

with my simple country mind

in all this so-called Progress that measures up.

They’ve put monkeys into space

and projected Man’s disgrace

onto every television on the earth.

But there’s nothing there, I guess

in this whole Postmodern mess

that seems to me to have a lot of worth.

We’ve got cellphone towers for trees

and we connect at such high speeds

but still I feel alone and without shade.

You could promise me the moon

but I guess I’d just as soon

that the moon just stay where it was made.

(c) 2011, A. Sea Herndon (BMI).

Listen to an audio version here.

The Night Before Christmas Break

The Night Before Christmas Break

Grading papers

with great generosity of spirit

and a wholesome Christian penchant

for failures

I am fully aware

of the Universal Law of Entropy

and the poor penmanship

with which our whole sad story

seems to be writ

But still I find a charm

undeniable

in these crooked letters

and broken hearts

Oh, Strange Curriculum!

Everybody fails

we all will pass

The solidarity of Death

makes no pretense of a Bell Curve

Let tears fall on final exams

to absolve the red ink of judgment

With broken charity

I hope for another semester

a coming Spring

when I will learn

the mysterious lessons of this faith

Sonnet 33

Sonnet 33

Jesus will come like a snow in the night;

from our sackcloth beds, like children we’ll rise

and stumbling then t’ward the ice-pure light,

we’ll wipe the red sun from our bloodshot eyes.

Not a sign or symbol will we discern

the days before the precipitous Christ

rains down from Heaven. The weather we’ll learn

is unforcastable: fire and ice.

With mufflers, mittens, galoshes to boot,

we’ll rush to the silent landscape of God,

that crystalline purity as absolute

as a snow-virgin lawn forever untrod.

Jesus will come like a snow in the night;

and we’ll stand in judgment, silent and white.

photo (8)

Happy Last Day Of Winter, Northern Hemisphere!

A Manifesto of the American Stuckists

A Manifesto of the American Stuckists

Original Publication: Saint Lucia Day (December 13) 2006, USA

1. We derive our name from the original London Stuckists (founded 1999), and as such honor their central tenants and manifestos as our own.

2. Many people have had a problem with part or parts of the original manifestos. This is especially true of the statement, “Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists.” You can disagree with this, or any other statements made by the original Stuckist documents, and still join us.

3. In the spirit of Tolerance and Understanding, we aim to be an inclusive group.

4. We have no particular “style” you must adhere to. If your paintings are surreal or traditional, popish or pointillist, is up to you. We are tired of the cyclical Movement A rebels against Movement B of the last century. We embrace all styles of figurative painting. “Stuckism is a non-movement.”

5. What is meaningful in painting today is what well-meaning painters are doing well.

6. “The making of true art is man’s desire to communicate with himself, his fellows, and his God.” (Remodernism).

7. And in that spirit, we will show our paintings in any gallery, show, or museum we see fit. If they welcome us, we welcome them.

8. We are here to make friends, not enemies.

9. Cynicism is out.

10. Irony is overrated.

11. Clever is out.

12. Good is in.

13.Marc Chagall said, “We all know that a good person can be a bad artist. But no one will ever be a genuine artist unless he is a great human being and thus also a good one.”

14. We aim to be good people and great artists.

15. If you are a cranky cynical bastard, stay home.

16. The last century of the last millennium had enough fighting and vitriolic speech to last forever. As the first Art-Movement of the Remodern Age, we have removed the chips from our shoulders, and seek a Spiritual Art of Unity and Peace.

17. May life imitate art.

18. Percy Shelley said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” We say, “So are Painters.”

19.Cast your whole vote.

20. But we are not a political group; we are painters. You may hold any political belief you like and be a member. Politics destroyed the spiritual aspect of Surrealism. If you are a political painter that is fine, but we are not painting politicians.

21. Likewise we are not a religious group. You may hold any belief you choose.

22. We encourage spiritual painting.

23. The obvious usually isn’t, but the clever always is.

24. The suffering, isolated artist is a dead stereotype.

25. The best paintings are a record of the best thoughts and feelings of the best aspects of the human soul.

26. Be enthusiastic! (from the Greek en theos, filled with God).

27. We are the Good Guys, after all.

28. Welcome to the Remodern Age.

29. We are gratefully stuck here.

30. Go forth and paint.

A. Sea Herndon

December 13, 2006

(Saint Lucia Day)

United States

NOTE: I was briefly a member of the Stuckist Art Movement.  While I still agree with the Manifesto, Remodernism: Towards A New Spirituality In ArtI no longer self-identify as a Stuckist, but have posted my Manifesto here for those requesting to read it.  You can read more about it on the Wikipedia articles for Art Manifesto and Stuckism in the United States.

-A. Sea Herndon, March 2014.