I have always enjoyed making images not only through drawing and painting but also through poetry. I have been writing in a sort of poetic "stream of consciousness", "automatic writing" approach for many, many years. It was not until the late 1980s-early 1990s, however, that I started to write poetry seriously and began organizing my poems into notebooks. Furthermore, while an undergraduate at Alameda College, in California, I considered majoring in writing, literature and poetry. Through high school and into college, my initial influences were writers and poets which include literary giants such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ray Bradbury. When I decided to pursue visual arts (painting) as a major in college in California State University, Hayward (now known as California State University, East Bay), I continued to pursue writing and poetry alongside my painting.
acrylic, pencils, ink & oil on paper
15" x 20" © 2011 Gabriel Navar
The painting above is part the We Are You International Project Exhibition. My contribution includes my painting, "youtube.com/parallels2", as well as poetry found below. You may read more about this six year traveling exhibition in the Exhibits and We Are You pages.
the dream I swim is a moonless
marmalade of purple hues,
a limp proxy for night,
shoved down the cave-throat
of a day dried weary...
throw a color-bomb at me, yes !
directly at my rain-craved brain,
because these days have been khaki-washed,
graffiti-less and chewed,
not unlike decayed, carved pumpkins...
pale-orange, gray and dreary...
drenched and stormed under
a star-rise spell, twitter-ville
is streaming, spinning, new bull-shit
has gone viral,
shoved down the cyber-throat
of consciousness gone
swim, swim open flow
wavy stream dizzy streak
wet, lazy lake throw
moon beam goose beak
gravy stream fashions crow, so sleek!
Pleiades-gleam, life-tree freak
crocodilian, red-eyed, red-lined escrow
moss-pebbled twigs, mud-creeked, gray-slicked
tumbled, liked, un-liked, poked, tweeted, pinned, googled, youtubed,
huddled-down, heavy rain, perpetual seeking,
yet unsought, fleeting thoughts,
but not lost, just unrest...
when lost, though, found,
then lost again
words are seedlings, forests over forests
a sea inside claws away
at the belly, the cheeks
tongue licks the eyes, wandering pink
swim stream dizzy, night's thousand creeks
blue then white then gold
swim swim, flow moon's hold
sing, muse, sing love-long beams
string string along life-strong dreams
been havin' some thoughts about revolution lately,
movements come to mind, and so do struggles and convulsions...
fights for unity and solutions
a meditation this is
arms wide open for love,
but if not that,
then for respect, for understanding and
for evolution of the mind, of consciousness
and senseless divisions...
been havin' some thoughts about creativity lately,
inspiration comes to mind, and so does music, rhymes and colors...
cultures in transition
if only an app existed for omissions of hatred, of ego trips, of oppression...
I'll create one, or perhaps you will...
it's within the trails of my vision
a meditation this is
heart wide open for progress,
but if not that,
then for the freedom, for peace and momentum in
pursuing one's bliss
and inner cosmos
when he woke up that morning, he knew…
squinting at the faint early light pouring through the blinds
he knew that today was simply
going to be one of those days...
we all have them, days when the body is tired,
the mind is cluttered,
yet thoughts are a garden
drunken with dreams from night's haze...
getting ready for work, there is no way, he thought,
that he wanted to deal with any hateful rhetoric and bullshit -
of cultural pride he's overfilled
pigeon-holed as deviant and lazy, he's heard it all,
and today (as in other dirty days), he's
not in the mood for the blatant tokenism at his employment,
not in the mood for being profiled as an America-hater,
not in the mood for being accused of taking other's jobs -
no… not in the mood to be seen as a dark-skinned, second-class subhuman...
Juan is in a chase,
the American dream is a craze
so, this morning, he unzips his skin...
"the under-skin suit is like everybody else's", he thinks,
as he auto-flays, for this start of the day, he's not feeling so together...
mind cluttered with dreams from last night's haze...
innocent children co-mingle
they play at the beach (what a glorious day!),
their multi-colored hands
pat down intricate patterns on the wet sands
there is a sudden shriek (dios mio!),
at once silent and then deafening,
as the brown child finds himself alone...
his mom, his dad, pulled angrily by turbulent,
"back to where you came from!" echoes
la familia split
scapegoating and blame game
division by hate, misunderstanding
nothing has changed
all wish to thrive and work hard for success
now, this song remains the same
may I share with you why I am blessed?
I am blessed because I live in California
and may indulge in the majesty
of ancient Redwood giants and
massage my post-information-age anxieties
on their phosphorescent moss...
a child of spray-paint cans, the Sugarhill Gang,
and Edgar Allan Poe... I've always felt goose-bumps
immersed in the labyrinths of Octavio Paz...
may I tell you why I am triumphant?
I am triumphant because I am able to glide over your hateful words
about the Hernandez, the Garcias, the Gonzalezes...
and, no, they are not speedy!
no need for your nonsense, your thoughts are a mess...
a son of Popeye, Martin Luther King Jr., Pancho Villa, El Chavo del Ocho....
I've always felt goose-bumps immersed
in the many, many years of solidude by Garcia Marquez...
may I express to you why I am successful?
I am successful because I am free to write these words...
I am a "product" of lotería, Mazapan, Uno, Snickers....
It's all mixed into my cosmic marmalade...
a student of the sophisticated Maya, Rene Magritte and fan of posole,
I've always felt goose-bumps immersed in the Oakland sunshine sippin' my Kool-aid!
after having completed chores around the house and shutting off the television....
... tired of hearing those news channel talking heads chatter about
Arizona's then Oklahoma's then Connecticut's anti-immigrant rhetoric,
she decides to go for a walk and enjoy the gorgeous gray overcast afternoon...
soft patches of violet-blue slowly poking through like widening eyes in the heavens
reawakening to shower sun-mist.... it's always majestic
oh yes, what a beautiful Saturday, she thought, walking through sleepy streets,
lawns trimmed, jasmine bushes poked by hummingbirds, blond children chasing one another
while grown-ups gossips amongst themselves, some frowning, some grinning
after having walked for about thirty minutes or so,
she notices screeching sounds emerging from the increasingly darkening sky
now turned into a deafening orange - blinding and hollering...
out of the corner of her eye, a middle-aged, self-entitled man with an unjustified ego
swings a blunt object at a green being....
his thoughts, his words resonate and hardly fade:
"go back to where you came from, alien!"
if you press your head
to the muddy ground,
you'll see that it's almost obvious
the sounds, the screams
are just about there,
within the cloak of the oblivious
the blinding light is
as mind-numbing as could be
it's so humbling, but it can't
be reached today
tongue-tied and lost for words
thoughts are broken and
so are lives,
but dreams are hands in clay
my heart goes numb
when the morning darkens
over thirsty gardens with the will
to live without suffering to be able to
sing and smile where the
sky, ground, forest, sea meet…
global laments… we carry the cross…
my heart goes numb
when midday drowns
over empty palaces, their walls cry
memories of diverse lives
that sing, smile in dream
of open eyes, inner windows,
their chorus unity in radiance…
intense breathing… fragments of light…
in our humanity we have different experiences,
varied lives… but, sometimes, we have similar memories, existential…
vivid dreams, extreme,
surreal awakenings, sometimes…
the sun is the same
I detest when I obey certain human acts that drown my disgust…
however, I find in the evening, sometimes,
when I seek enlightenment,
that the sun is the same…
recollections and hypnotism
shout the mute in cynicism…
I search for you in my drawing sketchbooks… vibrant colors, strong!
I search for you in the sanctuary
of my nightmares… dreams, cascades, fountains!
I search for you in innocence, in adolescence, in my twenties, thirties, forties, fifties,
sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and more…
upside-down, inside-out, forwards and backwards!
I search for you in the songs
of my joy… poetry I lived…
I search for you in the madness of the past…
in the end I find you here… I find you in me…
when I sit to reflect
and chew on optimistic words and thoughts,
my mind is elevated
like a divine iridescent chorus,
for writing, for flying, for singing…
radiance of the peacock,
wings of the sun, wings of light… wings of light…
when I sit to think
and sing optimistic verses and hopes,
my being is illuminated
towards songs of joy that awaken,
foam from beaches approach
like slow-paced tongues that
as they enter dreams,
run like the ostrich
in lunar radiance, enormous its light…
enormous its light…
forgive me, mother,
we have wounded the heart
we have destroyed you
and we have burned
the yellow sky describes
and the ice softens
we have lost our reason
forgive me, mother
we have lost our minds
we have drowned you
in useless stupidity
the birds describe
their finality in the heavens
we have wounded your people
we returned to spend
some time getting lost again
amongst the gems of greens
what gems...they glow and
harbor lizards breaths,
redwood trails and owl dreams
we returned to find
the mind in song once more...
in tune with the sound of streams
what sounds, they flow
and set flight to inner church
lights that whisper in beams
we returned to live
that new day found here,
a home it always seems
what home of homes
where gold of night
and every self redeems
it's impossible, of course, to stop everything...
there's always enough debris to clutter the mind
I've been given several pebbles
to pave the road ahead
the journey's open to those with
ideas to grind
it's impossible, yes, to halt it all...
there's always a mess to cause a schism
I've been given asphalt
to pave a path
the light ahead is eating
off of my prism
it's impossible, duh!, to just freeze...
there's always a glimpse, a pause, an aroma
I've been given mountains
to seek, to climb
the night inside, however, is a screaming coma,
a screaming coma...
Visit my Painting Galleries: For over twenty years, image-making for me has been a passion and avenue for exploring experiences, dreams and preoccupations, including issues of our dependence on technology, consumer culture, relationships, spirituality, politics, and the human "theatre". The paintings are arranged into different galleries, grouped, chronologically (the earliest from 1993 and spanning into the present) and "themes", especially when I find myself working in a series of paintings inspired from my life experiences, memories, nostalgia and personal interest, for example multi-generational, cross-cultural, popular consumer-based iconography and imagery, such as Chespirito, the Morton Salt Girl, muppets from Sesame Street, the Mexican Loteria, and Art History Homages.