Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chroma Museum
Down to Zero
The china sky shatters and goes clattering against pavement. I sweep up the shards, mine the hard feathers bright. It's a river sharply winking. Of resignation, of loss----- how can gestures of light soften the old blows? Is this how love ends: with a scavenging that resembles some mundane procedure called clean up? Broom in hand, an enlarged paintbrush, I look up: maintaining. There is your likeness in all these jagged leftover particles. As clumps of rock candy they melt, ker-plunk, from the trees.
White on yellow petals, chrysanthemums market-fresh, chrysanthemums in gold foil above the canned cat food. Look. They seem to carry themselves as suns aloft in this night street of flurries. Listen. They are heartbeats, but do not flicker, being steady as an all-over-quiet, a glow of certain substance. So you have such substance, such quiet, & find yourself open as a turned out shell who hours ago howled with the sea… Know the dream of the seed leaving, the life shaped from your life & that pain real as your own birth is this squall from the world’s womb showering through the dark as light meeting light… So you hold light still even with the others’ passing & mums are what radiance we each come to pause at: such yellow petals, such gold foil, such wrap-around-hands in a squall of white for loss, for remembrance, an offering, an offering.
Thinking of Opus 40
Here is one man's monolith, little known elsewhere perhaps, that hands built the wonder of, slate upon slate... Crop circles have such mystery, but this was not fashioned overnight, this a Don Quixote vision quest labored to the age of 72, the laborious love not lost, just incomplete, & what of how the Bard Scholar died? Did a wall befall him or the tractor tumble, & he, a plunging Ganymede, he crushed by what his passion sculpted & laid to rest on those very grounds... Of such accidents only Sphinx slaves must know, & those ghosts of Easter Islands, the Stonehenge quarries themselves dusty pestle star-grounds... Still, what lasts, flint-flecked, has a magnet's call, the Earth's poles a pull under these archways here, those cool corridors there, & the breezy steps down to the goldfish still living, so what if the Higher Power is chaos, is randomness? What if what goes around comes around is just another saying comfort conceives & the reason that everything happens for is senseless simply? Suppose it is all the opposite, unknown to us in our vicissitudes occupied by survival & what weather is out of our hands? Look at how this architect went on anyway, laying shale like a Jerusalem, & his wife, perhaps watching from the kitchen, wishing he'd come in & fix the television reception instead. Come in from the cold, from the ice-fire of rocks. Still, under one, beside him, her bones too bare testament & that is that is enough say both.