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About Varied / Artist Joe GirardMale/Canada Recent Activity
Deviant for 6 Years
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Statistics 287 Deviations 1,309 Comments 10,540 Pageviews

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the bully wasn't thinking
of the human element
when he beat the childhood
off my child
like dust off a donkey

I should forgive him
his randomness
any parent I could've been
any child my child

something would have extracted it
the faith in ultimately being okay
sooner or later

what good innocence?

should I've beaten the bully to it?
Here's How It Breaks Down
This one's a bit of a trifle, a meditation on the nature of morality in the random narrative fabric of reality. In a way, it's a response to Reality TV, in which I'm throwing stones at man's modern, petty, embarrassing attempt to make sense of randomness. Here I guess I'm asking, when we accept the role of randomness in our lives, can we still respond to events with moral outrage or seek justice, retribution?

I watch a lot of videos where righteous religious thinkers demand that atheistic, scientistic, agnostic, secular individuals account for where their sense of right and wrong originates, if not from an ancient text or supernatural power. I watch them mainly to seek some variable, some new answer from the side I side with. But the answer's usually the same, more or less, across the board: morality is an innate human quality, resulting from a sense that life on earth is precious and finite and must be protected. Dawkins' selfish gene theory kind of says it all.

Another common defense is to point to Scandinavian countries where secularism and atheism are the majority, and where peace and cultural advancement and environmentalism and socialism seem to be both accepted as components of a functioning society, and honoured as paradigms worthy of defense. The sensibility I hear when watching interviews about those countries is kind of a common sense sensibility. Well of course when you see *these* flaws in capitalism you install *these* countermeasures. It's not that big a deal.

Recently, my wife and I had a devastating experience with the avarice and duplicity of banks, resulting in our losing tens of thousands of dollars, and one year where I could've been closer to my mom, who's fighting cancer for the second time. This poem is informed and somewhat constructed from phrases I was told when speaking with bank officials and my wife's school's officials.
makes everything free'
thinks the warden

his ballpoint name
bleeding imperceptibly

two killers
he’s setting back in the world today

one meant it and one did not
but they are hardly the same men

the same moment watched both murders
like a spook behind one-way glass

now as the morning bus back to town
fires its air breaks

they take the prison with them
he knows because he takes the prison with him

it’s his and it’s theirs
and it really isn’t at all

that’s what keeps him awake at night
the fragility of the thoughts

holding him
'Sometimes time
I think prison is near the top of the list of horrifically fascinating human constructions. It really doesn't take much moral abstraction at all before the whole concept goes up in a puff of smoke. Consider this Syzmborska poem, without which my poem wouldn't exist (I love where I found it, too):…

I often think we (non-psychopaths) are moved to murder in the name of outrage at the larger mortality we're contained by. Expiation, execution...we like to blame our urge to kill publicly, or ritualistically, on moral rectitude, or maybe to satisfy some animal urge, some unexpunged-by-social-evolution remnant of our cavebrains. But then I think maybe humans have to be horrific because we're in a horrific conundrum. We have morality in a (potential) moral vacuum. So we say to the universe, "Oh, so those are the rules, are they? Well, fine then, we'll just go ahead and play by them." But it's really just us making up the rules to suit our own experience: a fine survival mechanism. 

You know, I often feel, whenever I'm rambling about my amoral universe, that people will think I'm criticizing things. Sometimes I am, but often I'm not. I just see things that way. And like your teacher giving you a grade, I strive for a similar detachment. You're not a bad person for getting a B-, but that's how the math jigs out. If we're gonna think about the universe in terms of grades on papers, that's what you have to live with. 

Well, I don't see the world as grades, except in the sense that I see the many spectrums of things as relevant, useful tools of perception. In other words, I wouldn't give The Princess Bride an A+, but I would acknowledge that of the near-infinite spectrums a film can be perceived on The Princess Bride is higher on most spectrums than most. 

So, I love to contemplate these prisons. I think they're much more pervasive than we think. A literal prison is a horrific thing, so why isn't a prison of the mind, like my inability to rank The Princess Bride below other films, or a devotee's inability to doubt the holy word? The relief we can take, as the wardens of our own minds, is in knowing that time will, one way or another, in one sense or another, free everything we try to contain. And I think in there we can find what Christian's so often distort about their own book's notion of forgiveness. If time will make dust of everything we experience, why not forgive, release, let go? Why not free our minds?

This started as a poem called Out, a loose, obvious comparison between being a secret gay and an 'out' gay, through the metaphor of a released prisoner. So painfully on the nose. 
The burden is
On the unavoidable

(There’s only one man
For the job?

Atlas’ shoulders shouldn’t ache
He should know the world is fiat)

And proven systems fail
The seen defied belief

(This is what I saw
What I charted is mine

It belongs to no one
But me)

The tyranny of gravity and other laws
Leave any life unterrorized?

(How can you execute
What you can’t hear?

Will you fathom
Thoughts unthought?)

Experience is a fragile chalice
Of experience

(My cup defines your water
My hands twist your bread rightwise

And my atlas endures
A revolution could redraft it)

Can what is
Be redrafted?
Copywritten Atlas (Stick It In the Moon)
After having, like, a two hour conversation with my spouse about all the layers of implication at play in this piece, I post it with only the greatest trepidation. She wasn't crazy about all the abstraction and white space. 

I will invoke Christopher Nolan as my spiritual cousin in the writing of this piece, because I see him as the great intellectual poet of the screen in our day, but he thrives in an unemotional script. He's often cited as being emotionally distant with his characters, and I think it's part a consequence of the sci-fi-noir/noir that he gets into, and part Nolan's love of puzzles and questions. The intellectual artifices of his stories and plots drain our interest in what any character thinks about what's going on around them. It's so much more engrossing to submerge into the artifice. 

Now, I don't think I've necessarily achieved such a feat here. But, again, it's a spiritual cousin of emotionally detached intellectualism. 

I'll let you all make what you will (or can) from the heavy-handed philosophizing at play here, but I will say that what inspired this piece was thinking about the world map, and how it isn't what you see in your geography textbooks and most map stores the world over. There's a Mercator map and a Gall-Peters map. One trumps up first world power centres (America, Europe), to make them feel better about themselves. And one is what the world actually looks like. Guess which one we use in our schools.…

One last thing of note: one weird trend I see in my poetry is this tendency to divide segments into parentheticals and nonparantheticals, when invoking Greco-Roman mythology. I mean, I know I do that a lot. But especially when I get to thinking about man's relationship to gods. As an atheist, I see gods as projections of ourselves, of course. But what does that spell for what happens in and out of the parentheses here?

It's a Freudian ego/superego thing, I think.
Sorry, freer
verse, we're
still made
from fad-
ing forms,
fads, norms,
status quo
atoms, though
we want
new font
to distract
from fact,
all we
can be:
cursed chemistry,
floating endlessly.
Form Less
I don't think there is, or should be, some big war between free verse and form verse, but the question is often raised in interviews with poets about the state of the trend, and where the fad is leaning. Personally, I liken it to a kitchen. If the best chef in the world had a kitchen with every tool imaginable, sure, s/he'll be able to make whatever, but does removing certain utensils from the kitchen deprive the chef of their title? No. Being outstanding depends on what you do with what you've got, whatever the result.

But I ruminate on the issue myself mostly because I've had form pieces rejected by groups on devART, who then accepted the exact same poem when I messed with the structure, to bury the rhymes (these are not, it should be stated, groups which stipulate a presence or lack of rhyme). What better proof is there that there's a stigma against rhyme? There really shouldn't be. Good poetry is good poetry.

Check out TwilightPoetess and her new title poem, Tell Me What You've Gone and Done Now, a poem comprised entirely of devART poem titles! Pretty swanky, I think you'll agree. A title of mine is in the mix, is one of yours? I guess you'll just have to go see to find out...!
  • Mood: dA Love
  • Listening to: Kavinsky - Nightcall
  • Reading: Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
  • Watching: Meet the Fokkens (Documentary)
  • Playing: Mario Kart Wii and Dungeon Keeper
  • Eating: Falafel
  • Drinking: Sweet sweet water


Joe Girard
Artist | Varied
Here's my interview with PoeticalCondition, after I was elected Poet of the Month: poeticalcondition.deviantart.c…

And here's my feature from when NicBelroque named me Daily Lit Deviant:…

As an actor, I've performed for the queen of England. As a film-maker, I've participated in several film festivals, placing first in the Toronto Art Festival 2006, in the digital film category. As a zen gardener, my designs have appeared in the Absorb art show.

My poems and short stories have been published in journals and magazines across north America, on and offline. On devART I've received one Daily Literature Deviation commendation for the poems:

Self-Made Men (…)
The 1998 Housefire At 198 Wentworth Street South (…)
Untitled: A Sonnet Told In Titles (…)
Piano Armageddon: An Image Poem (…)

Daily Deviations were awarded for the poems:

Come Home (…)
The Craven (…)

And my music has appeared on radio stations and at concert halls in numerous countries across North America and Europe. I've written music for the bands Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, Hobo Sapiens, Uvenburd, and my eponymous solo project.

An anthology of short stories, In the Wings: Stories of Forgotten Women, edited by Bernadette Rule, includes my short story The Changeling (unavailable on devART, sorry :3). In the Wings was published by Seraphim Editions and is in its third printing. Other magazines I've been featured by include Switchback, WTF, The Perceptive I,, and In My Bedroom magazine, among others.

Most recently, In My Bedroom magazine published my piece Threesome (…) in their Vol 4 Issue 2 release, Menage a Trois.

These are my websites (so far):

Download my album

My CBC Radio profile

If you've enjoyed reading my popular works featured around devART, may I recommend the following others as highlights that had people talking:

The Horse-Fall: A Villanelle (…)
Spiritual Sex (…)
Big Top (…)
Hyoid (…)
Spacefeint (…)
The River: A Pantoum (…)
16-Bit Haiku: First Half (…)
16-Bit Haiku: Second Half (…)
Watch Your Step (…)
Monster Patient (…)
Anxiety Attack (…)
Weep Western Tears (…)
Hard Like a Star's Iron Heart (…)
Lick (…)

Here's a few more poems that are personal favourites of mine:

Dead Skin Deep (…)
The Werewolf Monologue (…)
Stitches: A Sonnet (…)

Here's a collection of my forty most favourited zen gardens:

The Gates of Moria…
Zenstellation Series: Ursa Major…
Cherry Blossom Modern Art…
Elemental Cycle Pt. 1: Water…
War of the Worlds…
Path Between Two Waterfalls…
8 Colour 4 Bit…
Porch Swing…
Pac Man…
Bag End…
Zenstallaion Series: Taurus…
Year of the Rabbit…
No Face…
Nine Were Given to the Kings…
Totem Pole, Telephone Pole, Tree…

And if you like nature art, here's the one's fans liked best:

Vertical Rath…
Natural Shoji…
PAranoid Schizophrenia…
Big Bang…
Samurai of Slate…
Geodesic Dome…
Origami Mistake…
Satellites Over Toronto…
Born on a Ghost Ship…
Tower of Pebel…
Rock Out…

And here's some highlights from my dabbling in origami:

Eastern Dragon…
Neko Cat…

Current Residence: Ottawa
Favourite genre of music: Percussive
Favourite photographer: Edward Burtynsky, maybe. Gregory Crewdson?
Favourite style of art: Nature Art
Favourite cartoon character: Calvin. Or Homestar Runner.
Personal Quote: Familiarity breeds birth defects.

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Add a Comment:
Berlin-Steglitz Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2014
Thanks for the fave :)
Vielen Dank :)
sandzen Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2014   General Artist
My pleasure. It's an awesome twist on something so many have done. Thanks for the fresh perspective.
SenhArt Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014
Flowers fella (Love) Thanks a lot for faving!
sandzen Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014   General Artist
No problem. It was subtle, beautiful and really sparked the imagination.
GrimDreamArt Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much for :+fav: on "Fantasy Pond"!
sandzen Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014   General Artist
Not at all. There's a stark, grim chill present in your work that feels almost like Dr. Seuss, Edward Gorey and Edgar Allan Poe had a baby. It's all wonderful, really.
JAE462 Featured By Owner May 31, 2014
thanks for the fav
sandzen Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014   General Artist
No problem. A truly sensuous capture.
TheSphinx Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you for faving my [Red Light 2047] :)
sandzen Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014   General Artist
Not a prob. Loved the immersing totality of ambiance.
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