Mani Suri
     Mani Suri is a poet, actor, freelance artist, photographer, notary public, realtor and tax consultant.
     For the last ten years or so I have had occasion to hear the words of Mani Suri at different spoken word venues around town, especially at the Rapp Saloon, which—for the happy few—is a center of life and culture in Santa Monica. Dignified and subversively playful, sprinkled with gentle wonderment and pointed social commentary, Mani’s usually brief poems beckon us into a house that appears to be made of rose petals and origami, until he shakes us awake with images of soldiers poking each other’s eyes out. A lot of these poems could be, should be, songs—but should the music be supplied by Irving Berlin or Kurt Cobain? Or a weird hybrid of both, and others besides?
     Decide for yourself.
 


Good Art, Basquiat

Is it edgier,
Sharper
When the artist pisses
In the hallway,
Sleeps in the sewer,
Shoots smack
To dull the agony
Of birthing his
Art that some call
Graffiti
While an aria
Fills the skies?
 
Is it edgier,
Sharper
When the artist’s
Journey is written
In the tracks of the
Clear, pain-killing
Purity of opiates
On his arms?
 
Is it edgier,
Sharper
When the artist’s
Reality lies
In the haze of
Oblivion?
 
Is it edgier,
Sharper
When the artist
Shaves his skin
On a cheese grater
To find the studs
To hammer the nails
For hanging his life,
on canvas
Stretched tightly over
His frame?
 
Is it good art
Then?


2010 Mani Suri
Mani Suri was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the June 2010 Second Sunday Poetry Series