Writing doesn’t have to involve running away

I read a poem by a young woman

About her attachment to female racehorses.

I know they come first, she concluded.

Something like that.


I thought, being a man, I should write

About stallions – their muscles? speed? power?

Their big penises? I’m not attached to stallions, however.

I don’t know anything about them.


The animals I know best are stuffed animals –

The few left after we gave my son’s collection away.

We still have a lion, a rabbit, a raccoon, and

One kangaroo and one graying gorilla.


When I draw or paint these animals,

Or when I draw young women – models posing . . .


I thought I had a questionable gift – for finding sadness in their eyes –

The sadness of those who have seen what a human being comes to have seen after a while

And the sadness of the young sensing the aloneness.


Kangaroo, rabbit, dog, gouache by William Eaton, May 2018I remember one model crying naked on a little, not clean stage.

Posing, she couldn’t help thinking about her cat who had just died.

Sometimes – when we’re not distracted by sports, politics, electronics –

The sadness comes.


Looking over my recent drawings, I’m wondering if my sadness is past?

Just in the nick of time I’ve made some friends –

A lion, a rabbit, a raccoon,

One kangaroo and one graying gorilla.

— Poem and gouaches by William Eaton


Now available from Amazon: Art, Sex, Politics

& now featured on Snowflakes in a Blizzard

Art, Sex, Politics cover from AmazonA new, provocative collection of essays. William Eaton, the author of Surviving the Twenty-First Century, shares the pleasures of questions, tastes, reading and more visual arts. “That we are animals, that is as sure as ever. How savagely we behave! And how affectionately rub up against one another. How, desperately, make love?”
Five-star review: “ . . . remarkable collection of essays. . . . insights which carry the reader into a world of mindfulness. One of the pleasures of reading a book by Mr. Eaton is to witness the author peeling away the layers of his stories. His essay concerning “savoring,” for example, first touches on food habits, yet is in fact a call to live with intention; to savor life as one would savor a meal. . . . lovely prose . . . delightful book.” 

Kind words about Surviving: “Entertaining, yet packs a quiet intellectual wallop. . . . so thought-provoking and poetic I didn’t want it to end . . . beautiful and wise and moving . . . engaged, non-doctrinaire, well-read, independent-minded. . . . William Eaton finds arresting themes in unusual places. . . . The writing is masterful and wonderfully absorbing.”

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