Copyright: Joseph Fekieta 2012
Reality Check
poetry by Joe Fekieta

Everyone wonders at some point in their life what is art
besides being a simple fun-loving activity that sets ordinary people apart

from animals and certain money hungry corporate types
that love high-profile art investments loaded with provenance hype

inflating auction prices that confuse and confound the average person
when it's sold to a rich fool who believes the economic situation will never worsen

so the art will sustain it's astronomical price according to a cultural interest evening news story
following a 3'rd world natural disaster bulletin who's images are edited to be less gory

in order to leave the impression that the suffering masses situation is not that dire
so the viewer will not be jarred when the anchor shifts the focus back on to the major art buyer

who purchased an extremely important piece as it's called in the contemporary art world scene
something that's been written about extensively in a big, fancy, high-gloss art magazine

featuring articles that defend the arts god-like influence
with an incomprehensible art language describing the art as a singular cultural confluence

granting the art high cultural value even though it looks like nonsense
mainly to impress the high -brow museum curators who thrive on such pretense

because it's their job to relentlessly redefine art quality in a brave new manner
as well as launching careers of fresh-faced M.F.A.s waving their graduation banner

who have written their thesis papers to prove their claim
that the rooster of art history should include their name

so they can quit teaching boring art subjects at a mediocre university
and engage on a full-time basis all their artistic perversity

with time left over to mingle at art openings and cocktail parties
perhaps even get invited for a free lunch at Sardi's

to be persuaded to donate an art piece as a fundraiser for an international charity
devoted to closing the 3'rd worlds modern art appreciation gap disparity

thereby granting the title to this artist as one who is world renowned
who's body of work is fated by the god's to travel around

to notable art institutions eager to show the work of a rising star
with a splashy opening for the patrons who love exotic food and a generous open bar

thereby boosting the reputation of this artist from just being locally known
to an international star who is no longer accessible by cell phone

instead appointments must be made by the artists agent or dealer
while the artist is on retreat working with a psychic healer

to unblock the creative flow that generously provided a comfortable lifestyle
which included, nice car, clothes and expensive dental work for an Oscar night winning smile

that no longer masks the polluted memories of the artists youth
made tolerable with prescription drugs downed with volumes of Vermouth

or an assortment of other popular drugs cheap and available
who's excessive use causes long-term artistic goals to become unclear and less attainable

as well as eroding the artists skills and abilities needed to be productive
but not those that invent the creative excuses that justify not being constructive

then as the weeks, months and years pass without anything new to show
it's blamed on the never ending list of errands to finish constantly crippling the art flow

resulting in less and less time spent in the studio making art
with a diminishing need to be creative thwarting every attempt to start

barely comforted by the fact that the same situation is faced by and old rival
coping with similar circumstances threatening their artistic survival

all the while jealously observing younger artists new work emerging
cleverly engaging new technologies that keep their art careers surging

often aided by a mysterious trust fund providing financial assistance
enabling their creative process to flourish without emotional resistance

or it's a dedicated spouse with a steady income paying the bills
grudgingly participating in the artistic lifestyle with all its potential thrills

still many other artists wait till they retire to indulge in their artistic muse
which they feebly attempt to find after reading the morning news

then wandering through the house in their pajamas looking for inspiration
enjoying a cup of coffee but distracted by their chronic constipation

and disappointed that the art piece they submitted to the local art show was rejected
when it was very obvious their work as well as a few others deserved to be selected

in particular were the three prize winners who's work at the opening everyone was detesting
when it was obvious there were other more deserving pieces so much more visually arresting

not chosen by the juror who's impressive qualifications now appear in doubt
even though they are an art school graduate who's alumni have a lot of art industry clout

nonetheless the artist will keep submitting work for the next local art show exhibition
like so many other artists neurotically in denial about their suffocating creative inhibition

that prevents them from realizing a truly unique personal vision
churning deep in their subconscious waiting to be released with a single mind-blowing decision

potentially undermining the comfortable perceptions about their esthetic reality
and causing a sudden dangerous realization to emerge that their art is saturated with banality

but lovingly appreciated by friends and family who massage the artists ego with enthusiastic compliments
while gently suggesting that the artists ongoing deeply rooted depression can be helped with new age supplements

or somehow the problem is related to the artists day job, position, or meager salary
instead of the ugly fact that the artist is not represented by a real art gallery

who's business is to sell the artists creations to their art buying clientele
by convincing them it's a good investment they could easily resell

when they downsize their excessive living quarters after they have retired
then moving into their smaller country home to liquidate the collection of art they have acquired

or donate a certain piece to a museum for the lucrative tax break
unless of course what their donating happens to be a fabulously convincing fake

that for years proudly hung in their home in a very extra special place
stimulating very interesting conversation with quests by the arts elegance and grace

especially when the delicate question arose as to what this trophy piece cost
except that now it simply represents how much money they stupidly lost

when they could have supported the work of a contemporary artist who's work is totally unknown
who has labored exhaustively for years developing a body of work that's rarely been shown

an artist who has boldly explored many experimental stylistic directions
while consistently maintaining a level of craftsmanship in all the artists multiple perfections

boldly injected with design concepts that contain a universal message with spiritual meaning
as well as criticizing pop consumer culture's obsessions with fast food and toilet bowl cleaning

all carefully stored at the artists home in flat files, closets, attic and garage
with some art pieces on display on every available wall in a kaleidoscopic visual barrage

who's art the artist has already accepted and written into a will
that all the artists inventory of art like 99% of all other artists work after they die will be dumped into the local landfill