Monday, February 15, 2016

February 15: Blindfolded, Grammy Awards, Quincy Troupe, "Eighth Avenue Poem"

In the eighteenth century, when educated European tourists visited the Alps, they deliberately blindfolded their eyes to shield themselves from the evidence of the earth's horrid irregularity.  It is hard to say if this was not merely affectation, for today, newborn infants, who have not yet been taught our ideas of beauty, repeatedly show in tests that they prefer complex to simple designs . . . 

It's a question of beauty.  Is beauty in simplicity or complexity?  Certainly, it's easy to find beauty in, say, a glass of water.  There's less to take in, consider.  A mere eight ounces of liquid and light.  But nobody in his or her right mind would argue that a glass of water is more beautiful than the Pacific Ocean.  Like a newborn infant, we would all choose complexity (Pacific Ocean) over simplicity (a glass of water).

I have been sitting in my living room, watching the Grammy Awards.  There have been some really great moments (Adele, tributes to Glen Frey and Lionel Richie).  Moments that touched beauty.  Then there have been other moments that simply made me feel old (performances by Kendrick Lamar, Justin Bieber and Skrillex).  I didn't find a whole lot of beauty in the latter.  Art, however, does not need to always be pleasing,  It can be challenging, upsetting.  It can make me feel like a Pope Benedict at a gay wedding.  There may have been beauty in the Biebster's act.  I just didn't see it.

But, that's the way with all art--music, paintings, poetry.  The song doesn't always have to be "Ave Maria."  The portrait doesn't always have to be a Norman Rockwell.  And the sonnet doesn't always have to be by William Shakespeare.  Sometimes there's a Kendrick Lamar or Jackson Pollock or Gertrude Stein.  Art that pushes the limits of beauty.

Quincy Troupe is Poet of the Week.  Troupe isn't always beautiful in what he writes.  He can challenge and confound.  But he isn't Justin Bieber.

Saint Marty is not a Belieber.

Eighth Avenue Poem

by:  Quincy Troupe

on eighth avenue
between 116th and
121st streets
some of the junkies
have feet so bad
they could step
on a dime
and tell you
whether it's
heads or tails

She must have seen Justin Bieber on the Grammy Awards, too . . .

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