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The State of Optimism: a primer by way of a poem

September 1, 2008

The State of Optimism

Project Optimism by Reed Seifer

Project Optimism by Reed Seifer

I remember Optimism sadly as the place I go
to be in Optimism. The right hand of wisdom
waving from peace or the left
folding into presents a money to release
from gluttony to Gaia. I lived in Optimism
for some years. The state bird
is a phoenix. The state flower
is a smile which sounds ridiculous
though it is merely simple and deep and free.
An Optimist can say the word “free”
can deeply be the word deep.
In truth an Optimist is not wrong or right.
When I go back to Optimism I drive through Despair.
There is off I-5 in Despair a cemetery, so life
goes grave rose grave, I wave at Death,
which I’m not ready to accept yet
on account of more life as I pass.
Then Despair goes grave rose grave
mausoleum, goodbye Death. You never forget
how to be from Optimism when you’re from Optimism.
It’s like being a teenager and belly laughing.
The Upper Optimism is a helium state
in case Optimism goes flat. I live now
in Limbo, which has no helium
but is named the same as a town in Nevada,
I live in Limbo again, which is floaty
but doesn’t take me anywhere and lifts my skirt,
suddenly there’s a pool and a canyon like tourists
are needed. The state joy is Love.
“Cupid, we beseech thee, rise up and shoot arrows”
is how we might sound were we Optimists infatuated
when a crush hasn’t ended. Crush
is thirteen eons long in Optimism.
We are a people who by Crush
want to kill the clouds for hiding Cupid
and being selfish with us. “Choose me”
is the state motto. There’s a day in Love
when we’re all jewelers, necklaces
everywhere, and roses are asked
by young angels to be their wives. When an angel elopes
with a rose, you know where he’s from.
In this way I have given you a primer.
Let us all be from somewhere.
Let us all teach each other everything we can.

Optimism a painting from

The image above can be found here (but I don’t know where that source found it).

Another poem in this project, “50 States 1 Kelp,”  can be found here. This project was inspired by Bob Hicok’s poem “A Primer” which you can find here along with a little bit about Bob.

To see more poems prompted by other literary works, check out readwritepoem here.

To participate in this project yourself (and thanks to those who have already and who may again!) please leave a link to your blog and link this blog to yours!

I am almost done with a new YouTube using this poem, some musical accompaniment and groovy images from Reed Seifer’s Project Optimism.

Project Optimism by Reed Seifer

Project Optimism by Reed Seifer

(see image at top, too.)

A Newsweek article, Your Brain on Optimism, can be found here.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2008 12:59 am

    Wow! you always have the most creative metaphors and sources of inspiration. What a great idea for a poem. so many of the thoughts resonate with me, but the heart of it was driving from Optimism, having to go through Despair. There’s something so wildly American about this poem, as in Whitman.

  2. September 2, 2008 1:04 am

    oh my goodness, thank you Christine! Whitman is so wonderful…in fact i was just thinking I wanted to get him off the shelf where he is collecting dust and put him to better use!

    i would love to read a poem of yours–what state are you in?? samadhi?

  3. September 2, 2008 9:35 am

    Your use of metaphor here is stunning.

  4. September 2, 2008 12:23 pm

    I love the way you keep the pace through the construction of your phrases. Beautifully done.

  5. September 2, 2008 5:15 pm

    I just love the concept of this piece. Wonderful! My favorite passages:

    “The state flower
    is a smile which sounds ridiculous
    though it is merely simple and deep and free.”

    “There’s a day in Love
    when we’re all jewelers, necklaces

  6. September 3, 2008 11:37 pm

    wow, glad i saw the video first…. and then reread the words… powerful and the pace was everything… as i watched the video, reaction lines popped out with a smile, smirk, or a slight frown… “..You never forget
    how to be from Optimism when you’re from Optimism.It’s like being a teenager and belly laughing…” ..thrz a few more lines, but this caught me in the optimszm net… thank you…

  7. September 4, 2008 2:27 am

    thank you everyone! so nice to get positive feedback right away on a brand new piece!

    and piece of pie, you’re one of the first to see the video! glad you liked it so well! it’s scary to be trying a new medium, but the images by Reed Seifer were so wonderful they gave me confidence in it!


  1. The State of Optimism: new video by Art Predator; images by Reed Seifer « art predator

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