Self-Portrait

Brian Fogarty - Birthday Suit 2013

Self-Portrait

by Brian Fogarty

…and life has taken on an uncanny resemblance to the photograph
of me on Facebook that gathered no ‘likes’ and everyone said was terrible,
only now it is real and cannot be photographed for the truth cannot be
photographed but sometimes it can be nearly painted in an ongoing portrait
that is our conception of where-we-are-at-now, or our destiny, even though
paradoxically painting is a way of penetrating the depths of being, an act
the artist performs for the most part empirically, through the execution
of each work rather than in his mind beforehand which is full of thoughts
like sparrows jabbering away around a seemingly indifferent prowling cat
we know is stronger so we forget we have wings, and too often we fall in
with the cat’s plans for us, afraid and therefore unable to use the wings
that could have saved us by bearing us aloft if only for a short distance,
not the boundless leagues we’d been hoping for and insisting on, but enough
to make a crucial difference, the difference between life and death.
And so we can no longer live our lives properly, while everything conspires
to protect the get-on-with-it business-as-usual attitude of the diurnal scenery
which we too are stuck in, so we cannot point an accusing finger at others
for the sickening fakery that must be kept up whatever the cost until the Day
of Judgement and afterwards if possible, unless I can somehow begin to live
within my own nirvana, wipe away all trivial fond records from the interstices
of my desirings and imaginings, and find the whiteness that was there,
until, sqwunched or scrunched down in a corner in the folds
some vital remnant of myself collects itself, again, and all the differences
become differences among rainbows, or adhesions in the dance
that resolve and strengthen as it reaches its pitch in a tissue of starlight
or distress signals which are the feverish marks I make while I paint.

(I sampled and excerpted some lines I liked from John Ashbery’s 1979 long
poem “Litany”, which inspired me to remix them with the lines I wrote to make
this new poem which is my philosophy of life – Brian Fogarty 11.2.15).

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