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Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

Jean-Michel Basquiat-
Teach me rawness!
Teach me what it feels like to feel dirty
With smudges of color.

I look in the smashed mirror
Of this life;
The genocide of dreams,
The poverty of compassion,
The brutal revenges of possession,
The red meat eaten from the heart.

If I could scrawl the madness
From this tribal mask
Onto scraps of soiled paper
As you have on the walls

It would be you
Jean-Michelle Basquiat
Painting through my verses.

Last few words: 
one of 21 poems to people who have strongly influenced me. Basquait is now the number desired artist of the later 20th century at auction. If you are not familiar, once you look him up you will recognize his style immediately.
Editing stage: 

Comments

me intrigued! I haven't looked him up yet, but after I do, I will come back and ponder your poem again, so that I can better understand what you wrote. ~ Geezer.
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A good write and a subject close to my heart I love the sentiment you evoke
I know his work intimately and the sexual / drug and interrelated context of the NYC art world that made him an art star. I wont quibble with your writing persa but feel impelled to respond to your perspective. As you know New York is the attitude capitol of the world.
Basquiat was raw because he painted like big shit scribbles on meth, weed, coke, smack, granted on fire with unmitigated creative elasticity. Incidentally not a bad model for writing enjambolated streams of consciousness poetry and curiously very much the anti thesis of your polished, thoughtful, studied writes evoking more the somber exquisite magnitudes of Mark Rothko

He could never had made it but for his connection to Warhol and only then was embraced by high culture elites as their token, low society is high society, out of the hood, graffiti, pretty boy artist who painted for money, drugs and flaming fame like a wild freak banshee completely devoid of Gurdjieffian restraint or any other for that matter.

Or as we use to say in art school If you cant make it good make it big

What I want out of your poem is not a self abasing ode to the extravagance of low minded grunting raw attitude enshrined in high culture but to write a poem with big gleaming or mottled raw mouthed teeth that eats monsters like his paintings took up space.
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Just a thought ;)

My own feeling is that Basquait might have been discovered has he never met Warhol, that kind of fresh talent is hard to hide from the world. But great that Warhol did recognize this monster of creative force. He was in the tradition of Roualt and de Kooning, Egan Shiele, raw primitive force. This was in the years before fame and drugs, but all throughout he never sold out.
The poem is part of a collection of poems to immortals, which is more a personal stance of these people's influences. What you are looking for is a different poem, not sure if I have that intense outrage anymore in me, but I do try from time to time to spill the kishkas out. (to use a great Yiddish word)
I am sorry, and PLEASE do not hate me for this, but I am not a fan of Rothko. For me he decorates the bank lobbies nicely. Shapes and colors feel more like decoration, ars plastique, the experience of the painting has very little take away for me. That's perhaps why I prefer Basquait in our modern art. He doesn't match the color and mood of modern furniture, for me he reaches both the innocence and experience of living in our shattered world.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Understood, simply a difference in temperaments. Who else can be us but us.

at some of Basquait's work, I will, whole heartily agree, that he was raw! I did feel something of the world he tried to show, but he jammed too much into his scenes and I got the feeling that I was trying to see through the eyes of a freaked out meth-head in the middle of rush hour traffic. I'm sure that there are many that will disagree with me, [seeing that NYC is so full of people], but it's too frantic for me. I guess that beauty [or value] is in the eyes of the beholder. ~ Geezer.
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Seeing his huge canvases does make a very different impression than on the computer screen. He is right now the hottest selling artist in the world. (he was Haitian). He will be the art Rimbaud of the 20th century. He's having a big influence on culture. He painted before the meth age, but later in life got into crack, but his work did not seem to change from his early work when he was not into drugs.

I can certainly understand you being put off by his stuff. It has the same controversy that "Mademoiselles D"Avignon" by Picasso had in his day. I hope one day you pass one in a museum, they have a mesmerizing expression.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

am not a good critique any way, but i love this poem

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

You are a good critic, you read stuff, you're on to it. Just by being a poet you become a critic in a way. Like if you're a painter you take notice of how another painter paints, you have criticism about some parts you would color differently, or you are in awe of the perfection of vision or craft because you know how hard it is do. Same for us poets.
It's also interesting to read comments of poems written by your favorite poets, see how they critique and write about poetry. For example I've seen some lectures by Soyinka on youtube...really interesting.
Thanks for your comment. You like Basquait?

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment
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