A Refreshing Kick in the Butt

My drawing of the Virgin Mary

My drawing of the Virgin Mary

New PR–214
God Is Studying Art
(to Daniel)

I wonder if you could do a talking poem blues
The same perhaps
Without the guitar
But what I’ve got in mind
Should definitely be called the blues but art

You see I was lying in bed
In the middle of the night and
Some muse woke me up to an idea
That this is all just like writing a story:
Every day is an overlay

Every home is a poem
But the next “word” is a sun rise
Because you saw that yesterday
Just like a poet has seen a rose before
And so when the new sun arose

Basically you painted it
And every day on top of every day
It’s like oil painting:
One touch over another with darker contrasts
(Hence the blues)

To make it seem more real more
Three dimensional, as is de rigueur
In this painting of the world
But Dani my art restorer friend
Tells me that he traces underneath the previous

Versions of God
Knows what the artist or us
(In this case)
Was trying to say but every day is subtly new
Something you wrote out of yesterday

And the rest of your back story’s foreshadowings
But this is God’s story too because
(Didn’t you know?)
God is studying art:
We are his poem and He is painting our music

And it wasn’t really our sunrise
It belonged to a wiser owl than thou
And if
(Up to now)
We’ve been fooled

It’s because God’s got one heaven
Of an imagination
And all this is His bedtime story
And He’s sticking to it until you wise (and wake) up:
That’s what education means


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”


Gentle Readers,

This is another reinstallation of a lost post (for apparently an act of vandalism) from 2013, the current series of which is biographical, detailing how I ended up living in Guatemala, and devoting myself to metaphysical poetry.*

Okay, so we’ll continue from the last post with my art teacher friend, Daniel, or Dani, depende de tu capricho (as per your whim). The opening poem from the last post was dedicated to him. As was today’s.

Dani is a sweetheart. Charismatic for the sweetness of his smile, but none the less a refreshing kick in the butt for a budding would-be artist. Dani needed money and I like being a patron of the arts. Not to mention my giant lead-up to this moment in which I was ripe for an art experiment. So I hired Dani, the expert artist, to give me art lessons.

There are two parallel tracks here (as befits a trainload of fate). The first is my friendship with Dani, which was as I mentioned last time, slow to develop, since we didn’t speak the same language. But I have always prided myself on my ability to learn languages.** Not to mention it was driving me nuts not being able to communicate.

For instance, I got invited to a party but it was an all Spanish thing. It was so frustrating to see one after another of the party people telling apparently hilarious stories with everyone taking turns laughing on the floor.

And of course Dani is Guatemala’s answer to Jean-Louis Barrault (the nonpareil actor, director, and mime)***And so even if you don’t quite get the punch line, Dani still has you on the floor. But what with all this pressure, pretty soon Dani and I could communicate to the point of meaningful conversation. Of course that was more important later when we were talking about my poetry. But here we are still in my art phase of exploration.

But the second fate track is my “self-actualization”**** process, first with art, though soon segueing to poetry.

But Dani got me started in the art part.

Even before, during my much earlier adventures stateside with the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book,***** I had been mostly fascinated by faces, especially women’s. Most especially, for some reason, the Virgin Mary (See above for the drawing I did of her after Dani’s art lessons. (I sold it for $150 dollars–I guess that makes me a professional artist!)******

So of course that was one of my art projects. In Antigua was a wonderful little library that allowed gringos to check out books, including art books. And when I found a reproduction of a 400 year old painting of Mary by Alonso Cano, well I just had to draw it.

And speaking of drawing, I fear reader overload and so I’ll be drawing to a close here and we’ll get next time into the painting part of my road.
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*As in these posts:

**For instance, when I was 17, I wrote this poem in French for my girlfriend on the occasion of giving her flowers:
Ce sont de moi quelques fleurs
Qui expriment pour toi mon amour.
Les fleurs, elles sont mortes dans des heures
Mais ton memoire vit joujours
Dans mon Coeur.

Rough translation:

Here’s some flowers from me
That express my love for you.
The flowers die within hours but
Your memory lives always
In my heart

*** For info about this incredible artist of the theater, see http://www.biography.com/people/jean-louis-barrault-9199946#theatrical-and-film-career
I have a DVD of his classic Les Enfants du Paradis, (children of Paradise) practically my favorite film.

****See Maslow from last post, and this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-actualization

*****Which I highly recommend to any who would love to do drawing but who feel hopelessly incompetent. It worked for me (and all her students. You should see the before and afters in her book which is an easy to follow set of art lessons, from basic to more advanced, with great kick in the pants explanations which inspire you to believe in her method, soon reinforced by wonderful results. You can order it from amazon (I’ve mixed feelings about amazon but they are so damned convenient!):

******This is a Sufi blog, and so I will mention a Sufi-oriented aside. I have heard that the Sufis particularly in Anatolia (Turkey), have always had a pronounced interest in Jesus’ mother, as an object of reverence. People often forget that to the Muslims, Jesus too was a prophet and as such, coequal with Mohammed.

About Eric Halliwell

I am the creator and sustainer of rumi-nations.com, a website which features (among a few other things, like interesting and inspiring quotes, and Sufi stories) my poetry and illustrative blog posts, about one 1000 word essay a month. It is Sufi-themed, probably because for seven years I was an officially initiated Sufi mureed, in San Francisco circa 1970’s. My poetry has appeared in these publications: Penwood Review, Ascent Aspirations, Umbrella Journal, wordcatalyst.com (since defunct), Shine Journal, Ashé Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. I can be reached at estlin3@yahoo.com.

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