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Yesterday my friend Bob K posted a link to my Facebook timeline, and captioned it “Gary’s Anthem.” It was a YouTube video of a man with a magnificent voice, dressed as a clown and calling himself “Puddles Pity Party,” singing a pickup ploy posing as a lament, entitled “Humdrum Blues.” I enjoyed the video but wished to set my readership straight on what my anthem would be like, if I had one, which I didn’t, but now I do, because I wrote one on the spot. It is playfully titled “We Are the Work,” riffing off the 20th-Century anthem “We Are the World.” Between the two asterisk-segments below are a prefatory ditty and the anthem, which comprised my Facebook comment-response to Bob.

*****

Fella’s got a hella set a pipes,
And ducks in rows, however he may slant them,
But I’ve got past my litany of gripes,
And so herewith present my REAL anthem…

We Are the Work

I’ve learned to put my pants on
Both legs at a time
Nothing to it
You can do it
Sit and scootch and rhyme

But you’ll remain frustrated
And frowned on and anointless
No mystery
Life’s blistery
When focused on the pointless

So let us grab utensils
And eke our tools of choice
And unberserk
And DO THE WORK
That gives a soul a voice

To feed the fire within us
Takes fuel in double-rations
So stoke that flame
No need for fame
Just grist and grits and passions

(chorus)
Tell that story dance that step
You’ll be rich as Imhotep
Be a sacred glorifier
You will take your high much higher

With brush or verse or banjo
With chisel, app or Net
We’ll work the room
We’ll shirk the doom
They ain’t seen NOTHIN yet!!!

*****

I AM my work, and it is I, which means it has something going for it, sometimes something astonishing, but is subject to my worst flaws of hurry-up-impulse, cheapskatism, and not knowing when to quit. The two sketches above are good examples. I was watching the DVD of the thriller THE COMMUTER, index cards at the ready to practice portraiture. The two results were disappointing in different ways, but I signed and dated them anyway, because a) the provenance is established when I do this; b) I’m prolific enough to often not remember when I did something; and c) doing this keeps me (not always, though) from making something SO God-awful that I must throw it away and disown it.

Friends, I hope the Work you do today fills you with pride and joy, with just enough of a touch of dissatisfaction to compel you to surpass yourself next try. Cheers!!

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The words:

How barefaced lying by this toad

YET fools the base, whose souls corrode

Perplexes us, as wildlife gasps

OIL-COATED in a pipeline’s grasp

CORRUPTION so rapes land unwell

Fait accompli it’s Road to HELL–

I’ll tell the world the Truth–my word–

You’re even now suborning murder

Worst Earth Day ever for Mother Earth. 😦

The illustration is of the 45th President of the United States of America, talking out of both sides of his mouth.

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Here is how you and I got here: Last night at Walgreen’s the DVD of THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS was on sale for $4.99 and a two-pack of Papermate’s Flair pens went for $2.49, as did a five-pack of ArtSkills 11×14 poster board. I bought them. This morning I made coffee and started watching the DVD. Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner, is an intelligent man who through overoptimism and lack of foresight has landed himself and his babymama and son in a tremendous financial, and therefore personal, pickle. If he got the right kind of work, which would involve the exchange of his smarts, personal magnetism and enterprise for enough money to get him and his afloat, he and his would be far more capable of pursuing happy destinies. The two words, if Chris’s problem were to be distilled into two words, that occurred to me are NEEDS WORK.

Like a lot of the English language, this phrase is ambiguous. I thought of it as a descriptive fragment, but if it were a complete sentence, it might mean that having needs is helpful to us. Being hungry, for instance, can compel a person to start a day that may otherwise be spent staring at the ceiling…

An ambiguous phrase creates an artistic challenge. Might an image fit the many aspects of the phrase?

My half of how we got here involved creating that image. Your half, whoever and wherever you are, involved free time and curiosity.

Thank you, whoever you are, whatever your needs, however you happen to work, for completing this latest circuit of awareness. I hope the satisfaction of your curiosity was a good use of your time.

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So I noticed that Salma is five letters long, as is Hayek. How strange not to notice till now that Frida Kahlo is the same way.

The words relate to her journey as a film actress:

Serendipity/Dogma/Kevin Smith

Alfred Molina/Rivera 4 Frida

Lashback @ repugnant Harvey

May she ever be Rose

And we respect Martha Beck