Painting Poetry

‘All art is propaganda.’  ~ George Orwell

A selection of works that merge poems I’d written, 2008-2011, with paintings on plasterboard.  The poems themselves draw from myriad sources such as dreams, thoughts on politics and art and take influence from writers ranging from Nietzsche and Jung to the poems of Bukowski, Blake, Wallace Stevens and the Beats.

More recent works can be found here and extracts from my first long-form poem, The Cycle Diaries, can be found here.

2011, The Desert

I was walking in a desert where I passed many people, possibly nomads like myself but I couldn’t be sure.  I also recall some tall figures stood motionless, wearing large masks like that of a native tribe perhaps holding spears as well.  They did not appear aggressive to me despite looking intimidating and it was unclear what they were doing in this place – their endeavours as shrouded as my own.  I could see a slight hilly incline bearing to my right in the direction I was heading.  It was night and the desert appeared to be of a circular or semi-circular shape with red-brown coloured sand.  While walking, my attention became drawn towards a strange symbol etched in the ground, the appearance of which I can only vaguely recall but it was unmistakably there.  Somehow, whether through being told or by intuition, I came to know that this was a mark of the prophet Mohammed and it seemed to reveal that Islam held the highest knowledge of God.  The desert had a perimeter, which before times (that is, before such knowledge existed), one could pass through to other lands easily (and back again) but once knowledge of God had been attained, the perimeter became like a kind of force-field, which made it all but impossible to leave the desert.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Yin Yang

The painting stood tall
And to a slight
Forty-five degree
Angle upon the floor.
It was entirely black
But for two rectangular
Shapes, which had been
Spray painted with unfeasible
Thickness across part of it.
In front were stood three
Decidedly unimpressed looking
People.
The first was a former course
Colleague (who used to work with
Spray paint as I recall), alongside his
Wife and a third person whose precise
Identity escapes me completely (although
I seem to remember he was male).
Why it was those particular people
Standing there at that time I do not know.
I was feeling very defensive, as if braced
For yet another bad crit and, sure enough,
My former colleague’s wife began laying
Into me.
I immediately retorted only for my
Defensiveness to be stopped in its
Tracks by my former colleague’s
Words:

“You’ve single-handedly
Revolutionised modernism
And postmodernism with
A little bit of dramaism.”

I was dumbstruck, a most
Unexpected response!
His wife said no more but
Her attitude towards me
Changed somewhat, now
Looking at her partner
With a notable expression
Of agreeance as he uttered
Those words, while the
Other person remained
Silent.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Secret of Oz

A Japanese Man,
Looking angry.
I began talking
Somewhat piously
(as I recall)
Not my usual manner
When articulating
My artistic aspirations
On the contrary,
I have a rather shy demeanour.
The man became rather animated:
“Trust me, I’ve worked
On the inside and,
Believe me,
If something is a successful product
It is simply down to it being
The most successful con!”

I had nothing to say
But still I walked on.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, A Painting is a City

In this place, governed by over-privileged, bought-and-paid-for halfwits, grey, becomes the norm.  A union of fragmented wholes forcibly collate under the control of a shadowy greed peddling snake oil to a masses, repeatedly condescended for their blindness after having their vision robbed and yet ever worshipping their oppressors, somehow falling in love without any choice.  It matters not how much you protest, such is the way of things thus, if you see this, it will be when you’re alone.  Many believe in taking the blue pill – that duly attending classes, debates, social functions, exhibitions, performances, plays, gyrating to the stupid, mindless music the machine decrees, or being subjected to other such forms of cultural ephemera within this place, shall in some way impart liberation.  As they shuffle along and behave accordingly, decadent institutions sanctioned by state bureaucracy disseminate bourgeois propaganda, nullifying the middle-classes in the exact same manner as alcohol, sport and celebrities do to the proletariat and apathetic university students.  Some believe in to be or to protagonise one of its so-called subversives, though to what outcrop such wit remixing the mainstream via the outside/r, as it were, but to merely lengthen the tentacles of the beast?  No.  Such things can never exist beyond, nor will they change the banality, conformity, laziness, ignorance and self-centredness that form the landmarks of a media eating itself.  Others believe in taking a journey inwards to seek counsel from the voice of reason that dwells within the depths of an unseen abyss as vast as the cosmos itself.  This acknowledgement lies partly in believing that Bukowski was right all along – it’s the trivial things what’ll drive a man over the edge and little, if any of it, is worth caring about.  Here, walls come crashing down intuiting a certain kinetic release liberating one from all those greys, raising every colour to the fore, meaning that, during an intense moment oscillating between pure awe and dread, your eyes can see.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Heart Frames the Cosmos

There were two images in
Dawkins’ book: ‘The God –
Delusion’.  
Both identical images
of a young, attractive woman
lying within a cone-like object,
concealing the lower half of her body.
She was laid on her side and looked
peaceful and was clasping a flower
of some sort as I recall. She was
fairly light skinned – clear and
beautiful with straight brunette
hair.
The image to the left was from the
unconscious – slightly raw and more
‘real’ looking, whereas the right-hand
image looked quite digital and
manufactured.
The conclusion drawn within
this book was that science could
explain all phenomena as a
result of this for the first image
was from inside the person’s
head and the second was drawn
by somebody on LSD, thus these
images are programmed and we
do not in any way act
spontaneously, which would
be indicative of our possessing
a Soul.

© Christopher Sharp

2010, Thinkin’ all Pomo in the AM

Everything is simulated
Via the simulated
Repeatedly simulated
Via the simulated
To form a whole through which
Everything becomes disconnected
Via the Connected.

© Christopher Sharp

2009, Novus Ordo Seclorum

The revolution failed.  The main instigator, of the lower echelons, idealistic in every way; believer in the potential of the nowhere man and the common good, looks up towards the goblin brothers of the aristocracy:

“CHANGE ONLY OCCURS WHEN WE DECIDE!”

Forlorn, the man walks away now aware of his place in the world and the reality of all the history that went before him.  A fool, like all the others, he simply went home, switched on the TV, read the paper and was drawn ever-increasingly into the apathetic world of a gentrified, mass consumer culture, before eventually losing his mind.

© Christopher Sharp

2009, Beat Page

Pride is that terrible affliction
Where there was once
Intrigue
Respect
Even desire born from mystique
NOW
Only indifference and condescension
As the defensiveness it
Perpetuates
Gradually lowers
Your IQ and EQ
Reducing you to the depressing
Reality you so FEAR and use it as
Defence against – to hide the
FACT
That you are really a fraud but you long not
To
Believe it – and for others not to see
It – and
It may have worked but for
Pride, your so-called ally to
Your infallibility
Betraying you into exile and
Obscurity.

© Christopher Sharp