by Dennis Leroy Kangalee

The more honest you are in your art, the more dishonest you feel you have to become in your life.  There’s something broken down, something imminent when you’ve spilled your guts. And you can’t go back and say sorry or I didn’t mean that. Truth, like baby chicks, needs to be protected. But we don’t live in no incubator. As soon as you leave the art or whatever you may have created—even if it’s just a thought or a perfunctory mark on the cave wall (to prove you existed)—you have a choice to make when you back out into “their” world.  You can swim upstream and go against the current, but you must be prepared to pay the price. It’s hard revealing the boils and sores on your soul. It’s like an acne-marred face that could be beautiful if it could see beyond itself and into another person’s eyes . . .

I shared a photograph that I took of a lovely woman with a “mental affliction” who had the greatest glimmer I had ever seen—in fact she made me almost ashamed to complain about the death-riot in my head and my dry mouth. I showed it to my counselor and they all neatly decided there was something wrong with me.  Why?  Cause in the photo a splendid stream of saliva stretched across the yarn of this young woman’s face like a St. Bernard in all its glory. And they said that was sick, that I was a sick sick man.

And I lied and said “Oh, my,  I did not notice that. That’s obviously a mistake. Of course that’s not beautiful. Of course I don’t think—“

But it was too late.

But now I’m done, un-done, with none, kaput. Finished.

And so because I no longer have to worry about offending the people whose obscene views of life berate and insult me I can at least—again—be honest and free to not be embarrassed by my desire to feel or be feeled or be feel-ing . . . all that spins and flows through my veins.

And now, especially, when they say: “Oh, may I share a poem with you?” I will watch to see where it comes from.

And if they pull it out of their pocket instead of their spleen, I’ll know that I am still in hell.

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