Everybody’s Famous

Everybody’s famous
the composer said, remembering
the words of the opera tenor
No! the critic answered
I mean the woman who performs
at Paradise Lounge is REALLY famous
she was on KPFA
her name was in THE EXPRESS
It all began when someone important
said that she was famous
But how can you tell?
when a name is a really big name
Not just a name like Frank Moore
you know,
but an accepted in marble halls fame name,
visual nudeless art accepted on the all white walls of a Jesse Helms
castle fame
Art that is annotated.
Art about which someone wearing a success suit will say:
Don’t you know, this artist is no longer associated with St. Francis
He has become somebody!
The next step is, SHE says that HE
says that SHE’s famous
and so it was! In all the land!
and now SHE says
she’s famous
and a talk show host
says she’s famous
for what?
for manufacturing
music, it must be contemporary
because it’s odd enough, isn’t it?
from recorded sounds and
she has a cute name
That’s the main thing
It only takes
a catchy name.
and one person in the industry
to start
a myth
you too
can be
among the
maybe not RICH
but famous
there’s millions like you.....
it’s nothing.
but here’s the question!
How about, say, the heart
and what about, say, the soul
which game would you rather play?
Here! Pick a role!
Say you had your fill of fame
as a little girl, or a little boy,
it just doesn’t mean that much
anymore, kind of a bore,
you were adored, you had show off time
riding bikes - no hands on the handlebars
as a child
trotted out at an early age to be sat, like me,
almost disappearing with pigtails into the
large piano bench, at a grand piano
as a child performer
you had that thrill of fame
but running wild in the woods, for me,
was more fun.
No, you don’t need the fame game
but you do need
the passion
of the art itself,
turning yourself inside out
over and over to disgorge the
magic tricks
turning your talents physically
on their head many times
against the tide of possibilities,
for the passion
to create
or you can choose
to be an acclaimed author
with no new books
you can still talk
about the last one
because the role of fame
takes all your time
and you don’t really write anymore.

Picasso said
it was better
before the fame came,
that’s when life
was really nice.
Jung said
it’s in the struggle
don’t arrive
don’t get there
don’t complete the house
don’t reach that fame
keep paddling upstream
and hear the gushes
running of the rapids
dangerous rocks
all around you,
but for some
it’s the quiet pool
the elegant white tie
black tux
riding on a ghost pony
a white many muscled
prancing horse named fame
ride him to the grave
the underground and say:
Count me in
with the truly
nonfamous and
count me in
with the homeless
and the hardworking
family in West Oakland,
Count me in with the sinners
Lord knows I’ve sinned
Count me in
with the artists whose very lives
are a work of art
tapestries of bold, bright threads
that scream when it isn’t popular
to scream

Count me in
with those who
paddle upstream
and love it
Count me in
with those who give
one thousand per cent
for the privilege to create
for the need to create
for the joy to create
for the clay in your hands
for the words in your pen
for sound in your voice
for those who held your hand
in toughest times
for those who went before you
inspiring you, becoming you
and still with you
fame goes
to the seekers of fame
drowning in fame
incesting their fame
don’t knock it
they need it!
And bless them
if they can handle it!
I choose the
Underground, the people
who are my kind of people
Who are in my blood
I was born to be a rebel
to be on the other side
to be with the poorest
to be with the questioners
to be with the raggelty taggelty
run sheep runners
and kick the canners
who never grew up
who don’t want to be bored
with grown ups
and proper tuxedos.

(c) 1997 Dorothy Jesse Beagle
(inspired by and read for TC(r) Reading celebrating
Frank Moore zine — Modern Times Books — S.F. 6/27/97)

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