What An Artist Can Do

It has been eighteen years since I have held residency in Boston. And yet I still feel violated. I lived there at a very significant point in my life. It was after the sadness of a divorce five years earlier had morphed into inspiration; when I met good friends who convinced me that I was, indeed, a poet; when childhood dreams of living and working in Boston had come true; and, ultimately, when I met the wonderful woman who would become my wife.

The first explosion occurred barely a block from the music store we both worked at. The concept of a ‘music store’ is an anachronism that can not be overlooked, largely because this kind of life, this world we live in now, makes the mid-90’s seem like a giant anachronism. I and several co-workers probably ambled out to the sidewalk, trying to catch a glimpse of the elite runners making it to the finish line. I was standing there, so many years before the madness.

I accept the fact that I am older now, not nearly as bohemian, responsible, with a consideration toward “selling out” more so now than back then. I understand the importance of the impact of 9/11 and how this time in history has specific protocols and procedures. On the opposite side of 50, I hold life more dear than ever before and recognize its frailty.

And yet I still feel violated.

I can not continue to absorb any of the media, whether it is news, talk, sports, online, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts. I do not care to allow political heads thump chests in front of me nor do I desire to consider the financial repercussions. Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Dudeist — none of them have anything new or different to say that has not already been said after Columbine or Waco or Oklahoma City or NYC.

I’m waiting for the painters and poets and singers and writers to make sense of things. I’m waiting for the only group that can reach down into the ultimate depths of humanity, into the pits of depravity, behind the clouds of depression, and raise us to the heights of a blessed light. I’m holding my breath for the first song or stanza or canvas to portray strength and hope and love, words that do not need capital letters because they already stand apart from the other words. A tune or lyric or sculpture will carry me forward and renew my faith.

That’s what an artist can do.



  1. nancyhsturm said,

    April 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I love the last large paragraph of this. How true. It takes a true artist to make beauty out of horror.


  2. Judy said,

    April 17, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Very well said. Your words touch my heart.


  3. Shelia Hammer said,

    April 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Beautifully written. I don’t think you’ll have to hold your breath long. There are many others with a like mind and soon we’ll see or hear an artistic reminder of this sick event. Why would we want to remember a sick event? We don’t. But it happened so we must. Art can have a soothing, contemplative quality.


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