Art critic chicken

To Them I Say
James J. Roberts

Is it unkind to say    

   that few today

   have width or wit

   to carefully knit

a structure into lines

   that pins words down

   and holds them still

   then binds them to

their writer's will

   and makes them say

   what he alone

   would have them say

and then be still?


It is unkind to say

   that lazy souls

   don't burn or freeze

   but mold instead?

Neither alive or dead

   they sit and rot

   in sodden sops

   of half-thunk thought.

Lukewarm in bed life itself...

   they roll and rock

   in dull chaos

lacking reason

   lacking rhyme.

   Oh, but saying THAT

   would be unkind

and out of season

   most any time.


So, instead
to those I offend
"Kerplottt!", I say,
and thus PROVE to them
that even I today
not always type
...or write
   ...or think
in the simple rumbling
    structured rhymes
that so offend
their lazy minds.

No - "Kerplottt," I say to them!
and to their rhymeless minds  


But woe and bother...
"Kerplottt" once said
more than once
is rhymeless not!
Said thrice
it is not nice
and creates
a rhyme like lice
(a pattern in repetitious time
not twice, but thrice!)
that surely will offend
all rhymeless

Still, to them I say, "KERPLOTTT."

like it so...or like it not!


James J. Roberts

While some art inspires,

and creates desires,

(and some high flyers);

most of it

quite soon expires

often in

rubbish fires;

but not enough,

for my desire,

of burnished books

are licked by flames

in toasty concert

with known

and unknown names

on canvases

and holy grails

do the same.

Much "Art", alas,

is only that

that has survived

flames...and this and that

to last and last

despite its being

ungodly holy crap.

,,,and I'd add this poem

to that pile of that!

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Art Critics, Eggs, and Chickens
James J. Roberts

An art critic asked me for my thoughts concerning what makes "good" art. This was a mistake on his part, so I patiently demurred - until he insistently opined that, "There is no such thing as 'bad art'."

I concurred, suggesting that there is also no such thing as bad eggs.

This led to a protracted and sometimes heated  discussion about art, artists, eggs, chickens, and chicken sh-t.  I concluded the tete a tete, by pronouncing that I  preferred fowl to foul critics, who, in my opinion consistently out-fouled bad eggs or the chickens that produced them.

Most art critics have eaten both good and bad eggs in their time, of course, but most are incapable of distinguishing one from the other -- never mind being able to actually lay even a moderately bad egg...never mind a good one!  This makes me suspicious of their level of competence to judge the worth of a chicken, its  eggs...or art.

Sharp, good critics, on the other hand, have never laid, layed, lain or even eaten any kind of egg (good or bad) for they revere eggs so much for their perfect shape, size, and nuances of color, that they daren't touch them for fear of ruining the essence of their contextual existence in a non-existential sort of historically contextualized way.  

What does that mean?


I don't know.  Ask an art critique.  Only they use or understand that kind of multisyllabic slobbering. 

So, where was I?  Oh, yes:  What, therefore, can critics know about art...or the fully savoring of an egg, for that matter  They're petrified of both and understand neither!

As for the great growling mass of mediocre critics; they devour every egg they see - good or bad - and then cluck wildly about the "experience" to all who'll listen.  Good or bad, they rave about own cognitions.  But every egg they eat, they eat the same damned way, scrambled, with salt and pepper, which, by the way, is also how they think - scrambled and in black and white.

They have neither the patience or palate for the intricacies of the soufflé.  No "eye" for the sunburst yellow eye of a proper sunnyside upper...nor the remotest "feel" for the undulating sexuality expressed in the charged corpulescence of a pair of properly poached eggs lounging on a steamy bed of smoldering hash or lying astride risque wedges of whole wheat toast...a ménage a trios?

I have no damned opinion whatsoever about art, except for the fact that I know what I like and I know what I don't.  As for art criticism and critics: I have more faith in chickens that lay good (or even bad) eggs than I have in any art critic who can't lay either.  Critics, often as not, can't smell any difference between a rotten egg and a golden one, how then can we expect them to know good vs. bad art?  They haven't the nose for it!

They confuse repugnant with "good" art no matter how awful the smell or how revolting the presentation.

Chickens, on the other hand, now chickens darn well know when they have plopped out a bummer of an egg.  They strut away from it and think a moment, and then they pretend they didn't do it. 

So, when it comes to a critic v. a chicken on the subject of identifying "good" vs. "bad" art, I'll go with a chicken's opinion every time.  They have a better record of being right about things than critics...and can tell a rotten egg from a good one ten times outta ten!

(Mr. Roberts, a member of the League of American Poets, is published in numerous print and electronic publications and is a frequent radio and television guest.  His poetry also will appear in the soon to be released, "Treasury of American Poetry - III", ISBN: 0-9743429-8-X.)

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