Things are so political nowadays. It seems like we can barely mention an issue or an interest without fear of stepping on toes, offending some group or alienating someone with different ideas or perspectives. Especially for those who are hoping to share their art or their truths publicly, I have found, this is an issue that arises quite often. What is the balance between being fiercely honest about ourselves - and with ourselves - and also putting our art "out there" for consumption by people who may not necessarily agree with or appreciate it?
As an artist, I don't really care who connects with my writing and who doesn't. Don't get me wrong: I have a wish of course, and that's really just to share my heart with people. It's about that simple, and I recognize that any deeper concern would be a waste of my time. But that doesn't stop me from at least becoming aware of the fact that, sometimes, the subject matter of my art is going to challenge people, disagree with people.
I suppose the heart of the matter is this: like any artist, I really feel like I have something to say. My work isn't pointless; it's not for no reason. What I'm saying feels important. I become curious about the biases that some people might hold that could keep them from otherwise benefitting in some way from what I am hoping to share with them. This also gives me pause to consider my own biases regarding others' art. What have I been keeping at arm's length? What have I been avoiding altogether? Where have I been closing off my heart because I've been so caught up in my own territory or perspective?
Here is a poem that was born from my love of science. It's the controversiality of the scientific perspective that gave rise to all of that discussion above. Something beautiful that poetry can offer us, though, is an open space for exploration and contemplation. A space to rest, to put the chatter of our minds in parentheses. And in that space, none of what I've just discussed matters that much. What matters is the truth, the facts, as exposed to us by the power of science: once upon a time, unimaginably long ago, the atoms in your body were forged inside the furnace of a star. The same is true for me, for your mother, your brother, your lover, everyone.
We are all literally star stuff meeting star stuff. From that perspective, nothing else seems to make much of a difference. Doesn't everything that matters most come into focus when you consider this truth? A kiss becomes a miracle. A connection with another person moves from mundane to magical. A smile becomes an act of consciousness so profound that everything else fades into the background.
And as for all of our jockeying around one another in an effort to sound more "politically correct?" Well. You can decide what to do with that yourself.
Star Stuff Meeting Star Stuff
born of the cosmos
but returned at last to
meeting star stuff
and burning as we once did
when our atoms were a sun
this is how it is
when two hearts
you should know, dear one,
that love lives on
for far longer than it has taken
the molecules within a star
to become living flesh
© 2015 Brandon Thompson