I love you, dead actors,
rock stars lost in plane crashes
and drug hazes, writers full of bullets
and unseen masterpieces.
I love you, Otis Redding, Buddy Holly,
Eddie Cochran, Kurt and Jimi and Janis.
(I don’t love you, Jim Morrison, but that is because
you were a dick, not because you were unfulfilled.)
I love you, Ernest Hemingway, George Sanders,
David Carradine, David Foster Wallace, Anne Sexton,
Sylvia Plath: all you did and said was genius
lit by the fire that took you from craft to ash.
Something there is that doesn’t love an old artist
who does a life’s work in a complete lifetime.
Something that sees that
as invalidating the notion that is is dangerous to be an artist.
If we don’t celebrate the pain,
creation looks too pleasurable, and then
everyone would be doing it. Who knows how many people
would turn to art if there were not such cautionary tales?
So love to you from me, all you tragic figures,
you lovely bones, models of what I’m supposed to do
if i want to reach a personal best:
I have to get rid of the personal part.
I see myself, dying to be on top of my game.
I can die myself, going out on top, thinking that
the going out is all it will take
to get there.