Art Is Art

May 22, 20174 min read

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember, but recently my relationship with art has changed. I find myself not liking what I create because I feel like I’m lying, being overdramatic. The first draft of this poem included how I don’t always feel like a real artist because I don’t “suffer enough” for my art, but it eventually turned into the characterization of art itself. The character of art reflects society’s idea that in order to make good art, you have to be in pain.


Art is overwhelming.

It shoves a knife into your stomach and twists until you bleed out,

Burrows into your skull until it cracks and words bubble out from the surface,

Fills your lungs with water until they pop and you breathe out the most beautiful piece of work you can create.


See, art is naive.

It believes everything I say.

Sometimes I feel like I’m exploiting it

Using it

Forcing it to listen to me.

To lie for me.

Maybe I’ve become too hesitant.

Maybe the issues I like to write about have burrowed so deep into the crevices of my brain

That I don’t even trust the one thing that’s supposed to be open to interpretation.

But art trusts.


Listens to my stories with bated breath

Holds my hand as I spit out the bad taste of my ideas

Runs fingers through my hair as I turn my pain into “something useable.”

She doesn’t like when things go to waste.


Art is a woman.

Because she loves to screw me over.


Always flooding my senses

Trying to burst my eardrums

Demanding to be listened to.

She stomps her foot and grabs my chin, pulling me towards her.

She renders me powerless. Holds my fate in her fingertips.

I try to tell her that I’m busy, I can’t always pay attention to her.


But art is a tease. A liar.

She loves to whisper sweet things and ideas in my ear

But runs away the second I try to make something out of them.

And sometimes I try to say, “if you wait a little longer, I can make you! Now’s just not a good time!”

I quiver in fear because I know she’ll be angry with me for making her wait.

I don’t like to disappoint it, so I try

I try

To make her proud of me, give the validation that I write about.

Words of my perception of her flow onto my page as I shower her with adoration.

She hates it.

Even still, I’m expecting comfort, knowing that I did my best,

But instead, I’m met with a series of insults that rip my at my skin until it’s raw

And leave me wondering why I ever trusted art in the first place.


People ask me why I stay with her.

Why I don’t just give up.

Walk away.

Render her speechless for once.

My answer is always the same.


No matter how much she backs me into corners,

Rams her words into my gut,

Pulls my hair until my scalp bleeds out exactly what she wants.


As fractured as I am with her.
I’m nothing without.

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Celia Lipton

Poet, musician, LGBT+, dog enthusiast, among other things