Over Writing Beauty

Photograph by TPS

Pretty things are rarely interesting. I don’t tend to write much of beauty. It is not that I haven’t seen it: my newborn baby’s foot, pristine – never touched the earth. A Forks of Salmon Mountain pass. North Dakota Prairies, Minnesota Lakes. Motherfarm in August, children tumbling down the green hill feeding flowers to goats. I left the room to use the bathroom, asked them not to touch my son while I was out the room. I re-enter to find a nurse, bent over him like a vampire, having slashed the back of his foot with a scalpel to get a blood sample. I was furious. Beauty defiled with pain and blood, and me not even there to offer him comfort. I already had said no. No to the vitamin K. No to anything he didn’t need. He was perfectly healthy. Beautiful. No to touching him while I was trying to piss. No. They just can’t leave beauty alone, and then the quiet beauty gets roughed up by righteous anger. Beauty is fragile. Beauty gets defined by what is not beautiful. Beauty hurts more than love ever could imagine.

The only interest left is in what is left over. Sadness. Pain. Grief. Loss. Dirt. Madness. Sickness. Death. All of these exist to the extreme end past the borderlands of longing, lust and greed – there is pleasure sometimes in what is not beautiful, yet pleasurable. They scribble over Beauty like they never cared for art or music or children or love at all, and this leads to such a burning all consuming hot rage that I would rather not look at beauty at all. Devotees of Beauty, finding it’s destruction all too painful turn to the booze, or hide out in an opiate haze, or distract themselves with stimulants that impose their own paradigm, or else run screaming to the top of the mountain, the bottom of the ink well, or at least the shores of some distant place in search of relief from the senselessness of it all.

There is a kind of twisted beauty to be found in surviving, if not thriving, in withstanding suffering, in getting over writing beauty and instead taking up arms against a sea of ostriches, and flying the banner for the forsaken, the down and almost outs, the junkies and the brittle, the tent dwellers and street-shitters, the women who walk the night, the convict who wrongly sits in a jail cell – no justice done, the walkers on the ‘Loin, the Geary Street Boyz and the young on Turk who piss their lives away rock by rock by shot by shot until they disappear entirely. It’s a dirty job, but some poor fool has to do it.

Travelling far enough into the hinterlands of this no man’s land of trashed dreams, I wonder if perfect beauty might be found again, fleeting and pristine? Not in this lifetime, I suspect: it’s too rarified air for any mortal soul to withstand, but I see the light shining on the horizon. Best not to give into the bastard, it means destruction for sure. I am over writing beauty.


  1. Time Traveler of Life

    There is so much beauty in nature and so much revulsion, but it is part of life. I choose to concentrate on the beauty as much I can for the time I have left. You have beauty in your son, and the fact that you are alive. I truly wish for you to be happy.

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