Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Artist Lives Dangerously - Otieno Amisi

The artist lives dangerously
Cursing, blasting, blaming, weeping
The artist lives dangerously
Hits the stone with his ass
Crosses swords with the censor
Critic and state

The artist lives dangerously
On an empty stomach
Performing to a hall equally empty
Hardly marking the hard roads lie
Long worn out by the click-clack
Of illiterate women's high heels
On the same pavement they pass
They who care naught
for a stroke of pen
Or a sweep of brush

the artist lives hungrily
In a little shed
Beside a glass shop
that sells his works
And the library
that shyly shelves his books
Across the road,
the National gallery ..
whose director gulps royalties
Like the local politician
eating bribes
to his fill.

The artist lives dangerously
The tumbling line,
the sweeping brush
Cursing,
blasting,
weeping,
bleeding
And once praising
The artist lives dangerously
An uncommon laborer
without a union leader.

Otieno Amisi (d. 2008) Kenya

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