Things you don’t know about me:

One day I decided I was going to find out THE TRUTH.
so, I got a pell grant and went to college to get a degree in physics. Because, surely, this is where THE TRUTH would be. Imagine my surprise when Professor Koelzer told me I’d have to get a math degree, too, because after all, physics was the science of math.
That’s how completely, totally ignorant I was.
Turns out, I was terrible at physics, but a natural at math. Here’s me, 30 years old, and newly discovering that I had a skill at something most people are terrified of/hate entirely. And I fucking loved math. Geometry, real analysis, fractals, it just came naturally. BUT it didn’t feel like THE TRUTH to me, math was a discovery/invention which worked on paper, but I’m a hands-on-kind-of-girl. I needed experiment. So I went to grad school for physics.
By that point, though, I’d realized that scientists didn’t have any better idea of THE TRUTH than philosophers or architects or businessmen. I learned that at the highest levels of math, there was a logical truth which said “there exist TRUE statements which cannot be proven true” (Godel). I learned about non-linear dynamics which said “we can predict within a scope.” I learned about Poincare, who showed that at some point, seemingly without mathematical reason, the entire solar system would go askew and destroy life as we knew it. He quit physics then, but I didn’t. I went on, determined that I CAPITAL I, could do what they could not.
What a laugh. The grad school called me remedial, which I was. They laughed at me, which I deserved. But everyone had this sort-of-awe about me too because I taught the freshman labs so well, because I saw solutions so quickly, because I could MATH my way into answers sans actual understanding.
That wasn’t good enough for me. It crippled me to not understand, and I failed. I got a C in classical mechanics and lost my teaching fellowship. That meant no more grad school for a poor girl from Wyandotte County who had no way to pay for school.
After laying on my couch for 6 months in a state of vapid depression (let’s just say I watched 17 seasons of Bad Girls Club and The Bachelor), after ending a horrifyingly abusive relationship who probably was happy I failed, I walked into a bookstore and started talking to an old friend, Baron Von Ryborg. Something in his charisma made me remember that I was an artist.
Actually, made me remember that I was always an artist, since I was 4 and realized the world was immense, since I was 9 and realized that with my imagination, I was completely free. Made me realize that maybe THE TRUTH was fluid and changing and didn’t have to be found logically, but could be found in color and perspective and maybe, just maybe, that even the dumbest of us could have some magic, could maybe inspire.
And now, some 6 years later. Here I am, having learned a new skill. That I, magically, have an ability to make people’s voices heard. Through the stage at the bar, through the page at the press, through the grace of people believing in me … and how much I believe in all of you.
I have come to this …. you are THE TRUTH. Our is-ness is THE TRUTH. What you and I and we do with our lives is THE TRUTH, and the math supports what the physics sees and the art tells the stories of, and I’m unbelievably thankful.
Thank you, artists. You make me believe.

You are the truth.

 

((jeanette powers))

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Belle Poet Laureate and OAC Resident Artist writes new poem about Missouri

Missouri is a Ghost Shaped Thing

conventional wisdom says
that missouri is a ghost shaped thing

that your heart has no straight lines
that chain-smokers dot the landscape
with the blood of kings
& 9th grade charcoal barons
who collect dust in our memories

that the meek
shall inherit the earth
& sell our dreams
for their mineral rights

that stars
will fall short
of becoming miracles

it says everything
very softly.

John Dorsey

Greg lives next door

Greg Edmonson lives in the studio next door and generally laughs sardonically and is never short on great music.

Here’s an improvised photo+word=poem dedicated to his paintings.

Curvilinear

lines that curve

seem flat when you are walking along them

ants don’t notice they’re circling the perimeter of the mug

we always know when the lines are broken

gregEdmonson1

each of our lots are mostly the same

with little variations in area and perimeter

under different lights of day

i see you, neighbor

gregEdmonson6

i like that your world is made of dots, too

gregEdmonson5

you are a painter who won’t paint over terrazzo tiles

just because there is so much more space

between the darker spots

doesn’t mean they don’t contain a triangle

gregEdmonson4

and sometimes what you thought was a fork in the road

because you’re just a little ant-dot in the world

gregEdmonson2

turns out to be a cul de sac

but you went down every path

and brought us back a map.

gregEdmonson3

****************************************************

 

all paintings by Greg Edmonson

wordings by Jeanette Powers

A Moment on Mark McClane

Mark is a titan. One of the rare true believers. One who, like a tree, maximizes one’s output. The sycamore of his roots goes into the belly of a mid-Missouri dying railroad town called Belle. He knows all 1300+ of her residents, he has been given or bought dozens of buildings in every sort of disrepair, he builds homes for artists in residence, classrooms, galleries, theaters and wellness centers. The mimosa of his shade casts comfort for nearly 20 artists in residence, 4 dogs, a cackle of chickens, some days numbered cows, and one horse, Lily. He feeds us, he shelters us, he said to me, imagine what it would be like if you could create without having to worry about any of the basics.

He knows none of the town’s or science’s names for things but knows all about where and how they grow and talks of how the floods send boulders down the flushed creeks and bottom out in the river. He calls the concoction of ravens the Committee. He calls this place the Farm.

He is beyond driven. I think his to do list is thick as these forests. He doesn’t just weed whack the edges, but does the repairs on the mowers, coordinates with teachers for arts events, travels with artists to their shows, oversees the vet giving gynecological exams to the heifers, gets drunk with the poets, walks the dogs, brings the eggs to the co-op, knows every corner of every building and every field, and speaks with the spirit of the mountain.

 She doesn’t like when you move the rocks, he says.

Well, Mark. What does she think of you moving heaven and earth?

 

ps: THANK YOU.

Mindless Wandering

It’s been six days of virtual silence. I’ve had 2 phone conversations, minor texting and emailing and yelled at/loved on Puppy.

Of course, it’s been six days of inner FIELD DAY. Like when you started Kindergarten and went to school all year, secretly thinking it was cool but knowing that you shouldn’t say so, and then at the end of the year comes a certain day: Field Day. Where classes are cut and sleeves are rolled up and everybody laughs and it’s like you’re a family together, playing games in the sun. I have an apparent playground full of little children, older siblings, parental chaperons, teachers and friends all doing red three-leg sack race rover in my head. And even, a couple kids far off just past the tire swing  near the creek talking alone.

So, it’s been just me. The first day I did the west side of the road down the mountain to the River House: treacherous. Hawk and land-fill country. The next day I did the east side of the road: lovely. Mushroom and frog country. Today I did the creek on the east side of the road. The one the deer sprung from, but hitting it much further up. Turns out, it is the main creek which feeds the Gasconade. Almighty Gaagle search engine map function informs me that the creek is unlisted, which means I get to name it.

It’s an important creek, it’s the creek where I’m going to build The Aerie!

[post redacted]

Mindless Wandering

I dropped the farm Blazer off at the Workshop and went back up the cow pasture towards the dream house from the other end of the field. I just only roughly believe their might be an easier way through, but there isn’t. Instead I’d like to introduce you to the 5 billion tiny rose thorn cuts across my calves. You know those $70 fancy waterproof open shoes you bought? You were had.

It’s ok. We’ve already learned to live with broken shoes. So I’m thinking about how Mindless Wandering means you gotta trample a lot of things. I’m mowing down who knows who’s family estates. I mean it could be some kind of super-bad-bugs-club kind of mansion down there, forget those seeds, sorry flower. Just smashing through, and puppy is worse, he’s like at least 15 horse power of stamping around breaking little plants and bug-biting energy.

And it wasn’t so different when I left the city. I was on a real roll, you know when nothing can keep the pen down? When you have a sudden dam-burst infinity of tiny and immense things to say and you don’t even worry about what happens in the wash? The delta is such a long way off. But then I became aware of leaving. This altered things. So I partied, and really found the best of them, you know? The best of what any little burrough like mine can offer: they offered the kid of the housekeeper, really smart and bright but someone nobody pays attention to. And everybody was still Mindless Wandering. But instead of smashing the dark purpleflowers and the cattails, the rosebushes and the what-i-call-missouri-cactusses (made ya laugh), we were all smashing each other.

Not intentionally, of course. HOW GAUCHE. But people who called themselves family were just throwing a real hollywood right hook into each other’s faces. I wanted to call a time-out, but I wasn’t no umpire or coach. And now I might as well be an epoch away from all that.

So I made my way from the Cow Pasture, down the Easy Path, past the Selfie Statue Meadow with the Sitting Tree and I took that right I skipped the day before. Now we’re in the creek.

Oh Annie! I’m been chasing you my whole damn life! Ms. Dillard, you are now with me and I’ve read your book. It didn’t say one damn word about ticks! You filthy liar, making Nature seem tranquil and if you’re calm they’re calm, as if you don’t carry the parasitic echoes of every relationship back with you wherever you go. Everything has its price. As you say, my numberoneprimo lady, “Nothing is lost, and everything is spent.”

It’s decades cooler in the creek. The sun and the world take on an instantly calmer air.