Manifesto

The Poetry Pilgrim Project is devoted to spurring artists, writers, and performers towards radical re-mythologization efforts in our communities and around the world. Poets, artists, writers, and performers should be responsible for shaping the stories within which our society lives, but they have abdicated that position for participation in the plot-lines that academia, the mass media, and major corporations have set forth. These are plot-lines which lead individuals and communities towards falling into the role of victim and victimizer, oppressor and oppressed, competitor, perpetually exhausted, and always in need. These stories have us believe that if we are not working, we have no value; that if we are not buying, we must be lacking something; that in order to be loved we must not be ourselves; and that simple gratitude and appreciation of beauty and otherness is not a goal in and of itself, but a side effect of something somehow more important.

Our gods keep moving further away, becoming less and less like us, made of dark matter, up-spinning, leaping whole millennia, but driving straight into our chests, shaking our smallest muscles when we notice them, as if to say why are you taking so long? Catch up! And the longer we wait, the more it will hurt when we step up to face the rift. We’ll say my god, my god as we stare into the eyes of someone we’ve spent our whole lives ignoring. And that story will hurt like hell. And it will be hell. And we’ll pass through it. And you’ll both get to write the twists and turns, the battles, the escape–and you’ll both get to decide what cups, keys, armory, weapons, and talismans you bring back with you to help the next one through.  And these will be our real myths. We will tear apart and piece together our own borders, values, ranges of possibility, relationships, symbols, and endings that speak to who we are and the places we stand, swim, and fly.

These new myths will only emerge through radical acts of bravery and engagement on an intimate level, unencumbered by  thoughts of will this poem get published in a great literary journal, will this sculpture sell, is this performance edgy enough to be shown at  MOMA or will this cause too much discomfort. Instead, artists will think, is this piece true? Does this piece reflect contradiction and glorify it? Was there pain in its making? And if the answer is yes, it will explain our times, define ourselves, and serve as a guidepost for coming generations.

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