6/20/20: Institutions #poetry #iO #secondcity #lyricopera #mercurytheater

6/20/20: Institutions #poetry #iO #secondcity #lyricopera #mercurytheater

Institutions rise and institutions fall

They begin with creative innovation

and attract the talented and smart

like moths to flames

The talented and smart blossom

the institutions are the places where they grow

and then they leave and make names for themselves

Business people step in and turn the innovators’ work

and the talented and smart people’s subsequent success

into brands

As if the walls of the institutions magically made men and women

innovative, talented and smart

People pay to watch the institutions’ walls

and to learn from the institutions’ walls

suckers born every minute

But by this time the magic has left the building

the innovators are all dead

the talented and smart are off making it in larger institutions

or on their own

making it in all sorts of innovative ways

that have nothing to do with the institutions

Some talented and smart people still pass between the institutions’ walls and succeed

because that is what talented and smart people generally do

they find places to grow and water themselves

turn their faces toward the sun

take any experience

good or bad

and use it to develop the seed inside of themselves

which was placed there by God

and more powerful than any institution

charged particles in a cyclotron

destroying and creating worlds

So the brand survives.

Marketing is a powerful thing

and crowds of people visit the institutions

learning and watching

and the institutions make a lot of money

taking something less than ordinary

and packaging it as special

Then something happens from the outside

a pandemic

a revolution

a depression

all of the above

and the institutional dinosaurs become extinct

it seems sudden

but it is a natural thing

a process of evolution and demise

like when an old person’s memories die at the moment of their death

It is the innovation and talent and intelligence that matters

not the institutions’ walls

Good riddance or nostalgia

what difference does it make?

That which seemed so concrete

all the money and buildings and rooms

is what is transitory

the innovation talent and intelligence

the love that shines through the layers of trivial mediocrity

the excellence that transforms the mundane to all that truly matters

is what stays.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas





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