Ugly, or: Misunderstood

Poetry Partners #93

‘An Ugly Poem’, by Amelia Michelle Nicol of ‘And Or Theory’

Far too philosophical and just
Lacking imagery

Overlapping or side by side, intertwined
emphasis, color, leading lines, rules of thirds
lists of negatives, another light
dodging or burning
art and beauty, the disturbing
the differences, the uncertain
certitude, fortitude, beauty and the ultimate
objective good

Seeking, seeking, wandering
excitability and extremes
anti-art longing for the simplicity of beauty
of something to be beheld
of that which cannot be mistaken:

free will in observation, attention
taken away, taken apart

Of all there is to seek
beauty and the Great Beyond
reconciling irreconcilable inferences
art for the sake of art itself
beauty and the divine
something entirely beyond us
also being with us

Wants and needs, investments and future
impressions of poverty
and the fears of wanting, needing
delinquency, fervor, indecisive
instruments, machinery, conveyance
longing beyond desire or relationship
To have, get, become, endeavor
unbecoming differences
currencies in lifestyle, persistent needs
branding sensibility

A poem by ben Alexander of ‘The Skeptic’s Kaddish’


אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי If I am not for myself, who is for me?
וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי And if I am only for myself, what am I?
וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁו, אֵימָתָי And if not now, when?
~ Pirkei Avot 1:14 (Chapters of the Fathers)
never only for creators themselves by definition; dictionaries; thesauruses; frameworks; rows; columns; others could language ever [lack]
beauty or ugliness or beauty or ugliness or beauty or uglinessform; all form one; all for one; shared experiencemeaning is lost; [because] individuals find themselves in it
for me it’s always a; well, it’s a; well, you… am I right or am I?question mark, quotation mark, ellipsis, intonation; (inter)personalpunctuation; [mark] my words or don’t, but they’ve undeniably been formed already
write now; art; poetry; writing; expression; thought; feeling; look for it; close but no cigarfor yourself; one for all; simultaneously and/or in parallelfor nobody else will
yes, right now; you; over and…yes, write now; over and…subjective verb objective; and over again; now, now now, now, now; only for yourself and for others

d’Verse prompt: Fall seven times, stand up eight

This poem was written in response to Thursday’s d’Verse prompt, in which poets were encouraged to make contributions to the tradition of gnomic poetry, which is the long lived and loved practice of moralizing in verse. For more information, click here.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

List of Poetry Partners

39 thoughts on “Ugly, or: Misunderstood”

  1. a powerful poem, it went perfectly with the painting. I think it’s art. It raises the philosophical question: ‘what does it take to call something art if it’s the expression of a very individual emotion.’
    Thanks for sharing, David!

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