remix of a desperate plea for money from years ago when my art and life were different

Geoffrey Lewis
20 min readJul 25


ah; i come back to work on something about money from last week but find myself rejuvenated by love, the possibilities of intimacy; I have to trust my creative process and not try to control any of this material, just let it flow and bleed, let it become more perfect than I could ever plan or anticipate; you can just keep bleeding and believe it—believe it’s the right thing to do; self-deception and illusion become the daily bread of private adult life, inventing the story out of shattered mirror-shards from the past, and old starlight bouncing around

there are layers of magma and sediment to drill down through to get to the fear that animates human action: terror of loss, amid the granaries and abundance that the world is, nonsensical inheritance of enormous utility, fragrant, fecund, pregnant—the wet soil warm, ready to receive seeds as conjured by the mathematical plan an engineer would lay out in blueprints; each word written here is a guide to precise gratitude which would illuminate that human heart; the human heart as vast, complicated and strange as the cosmos—every time I glance at a light, the universe starts over; professionalism is a veil, like the Greeks said poetry is; no, it was this:

(I keep my errors)

we can see through what our labels have been; I pay rent ($975) and immediately see through all money fear; to reach out to the social media person who runs the We Whiten Instagram account who found me through my posts in Austin…cute blonde more in the mood to start a business than have kids; I let myself get diverted, cohesion is for the product addicts; my art and consciousness transcends productization, and then after the fact, is productized: yes, I am like a kid, letting you watch me having fun

below the ~~~

talking feels easy now! because i expect nothing from my madness; perhaps because money is apart from what i do on computers—except my employer’s computers, selling items, products to customers, which reins me back into the language of Seth Godin, a found father who’ll ne’er steer you wrong

I copy/pasted this below and intend to make a concrete poem, making cuts, slabs, jolts and voltas ~ mostly this is my morning routine; or, a course of action on one morning (3pm)

the money fear is not really about money, it’s about failing to ask for help, failing to connect, belong, unite, summon the courage to be vulnerable, step into the unknown, let go of the past — everybody deals with this all of the time, every day forever; this is plainly what we are: refusal, denial

the feeling of being right and the safe cocoon in which to delight in the feeling of knowing, omnipotence, laying this word quietly in a bed surrounded by commas on an ordinary Wednesday, as Presidents elsewhere in professional robes rally the troops to sell more product, make numbers go up, make the computers we stare at and are governed by into mirrors that flatter us with narratives of progress; at night, alone on the pillow, we’re only accountable to ourselves

so i thought these things and said them; they’re here to read, as the internet endures a carboniferous period of endless flowering, every human node bleating out its supposed expertise into modules, courses, content series, frames, lexicography; I am a musician of madness in the storm of AI and ChatGPT bluster, no ladder to hang onto, reality a moving lava flow

writing has always been a record of survival, a story of a fall, a chance to remember—the question is who you show, and if showing actually does anything; maybe it’s practice, as a way to know what others are like in the silence and distance, so I can then show up as a listener and attendant to their thing ~ giving the attention and respect and integration I would hope a reader would give me; again, life’s lesson: all those things you want, you were only meant to give. Find it in yourself, and others will find it in themselves for you. I remember:

“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.”
— Paramahansa Yogananda

on with the concretization ~

Six thousand dollars a month and I am free
actually i am fine on two: 950 rent and utilities (lucky! furnished! cool young roommates into entrepreneurship, wellness, and personal growth; the Oxford comma still makes me think of my ex from 10 years ago; now my story is plain—I have considered what is not interesting; maybe it would be better to tell you and let you be the judge)~ am I worth it? Am I worth reading? There’s love, betrayal, family, disappointment, the early 2000s, the extremely online and Type A 2010s; I can’t tell a story; I philosophize; selfishly perhaps, I provide you no ground to relate to me—again, my plea for my art life: do I want to show you what I do, or do I wish to just be trusted, given space and time like a bird in an aviary, or treated like a precious pet dog, coddled and sheltered, fed and let to rest comfortably. Am I a man? What does that mean? Language, narrative, memory, my father, a lawyer, grew up poor-ish, captain of his fledgling family [is this true? Maybe art is the descent into wanting to understand, no matter the cost or the heartbreak, annoyance; maybe I desire a war

Should I be able to live and read, write, listen, speak, sing, make content, keep relationships and correspondence, research
research :) amusing concept: wonder is the act that unites the internal with the external, a looking outside oneself for unity, a trying to be objective…perhaps a fleeing from one’s internal completeness; yet, work and the economy persist; one needs to make a living, have a legible, real way of being given money for something; ah, daylight and air are new again, without the desperate ruffling feathers of hunger and disdain; yet I do judge—I am so separate from others; otherness and aloneness alienate me; I notice the bridge to cross: conversation is the way; life is the way. Have I lost the way? Am I stranded in the middle of nowhere? I’m not hopeless like I hear 25% of Texas high school students feel right now ~ it’s a tough time to monetize yourself via social media, via digging out your own soul and making it into content. If only there were a leader who could tell us how to be of service, to articulate the problem and summon the troops. Hunger for a leader, a manager, a father, a boss, an omnipotent being we could trust wholeheartedly and unconditionally; someone worthy of our kneeling and pledging God Save The Queen. Someone less inconsistent than us.

…if I subject myself to professionalism?
Was I afraid of it? Am I still wounded from unread emails and fear of not complying? To show up at work is to hold onto your livelihood; always under threat, an oppressive regime threatening loss and seizure; professionalism was a place to go to maybe not be good enough, a test; business is an obsession some have—what’s mine? The intensity of how one claims their freedom, sovereignty, unique voice? The intensity of the grab is the reward; there is endless product, nonstop talk of young people trying to prove their worthiness by making numbers go up: be authentic, share, watch the numbers roll in; addicts playing slot machines, in a world where our power is rooted in saying Yes or No, where an art life emerges from finding what you like and sharing it; your affinity is never wrong: if it feels right, it’s good; funny, I could just follow “the feeling” and live my emotions out loud; the problem seems now that my emotions have deadened a bit, or I’m just more judgmental of them, expect less of them; I feel less now than I did before—I will blame age for this rather than antidepressants, or just sheer numbers of days, hours, pages and years in the game which prove that nothing really goes away, nothing really changes, human nature is the constant: trickery, inconsistency, greed, fleeting generosity always twinned and tumbling with wanting convenience, comfort and to be left alone ~ social inequality, governed by money, what you think you’re worth (how much per hour? What’s your bread and butter, your specialty; are you a consultant on fire? Full-time or contractor/freelance/self-employed? Everyone trying to tie themselves to money, rushing about the grid to attain the right impressions, stringing together a series of being-seen by the right cohort, group, tribe, customer base, to keep the money flowing, keeping up appearances; hence why not to trust anyone over 30, they’re machines executing a script for safety and security—but speaking as God, I forgive them: they’re hungry, animals, all of us tender with the option for cruelty.

I will; I shall kneel and obey the government, pay taxes, praise the military and destruction overseas, American overeating, blindness and delay on obvious problems because *gestures vaguely* people in power with guaranteed salaries
Perhaps a massive shift in culture is necessary: we need a leader, maybe it’s the computer, someone or something that sees and knows what should be done, and can see what people are capable of; maybe I am hungering to be seen and be believed in, be understood ~ who is that other who could lead the way and would do so passionately? Is it a dim, false memory of my early twenties when friends, colleagues and bosses were fascinated by my potential? Was I a golden boy who just kinda rotted on the vine? I could have been a star; but that wouldn’t really change the quality of my silence; the real reward, I guess, is being unique, having a voice, using it, knowing it’s always there.

who are too maybe nobody’s comfortable, maybe everybody’s as unhappy as me

ANYWAY, less story, more technique! More specifics! Here’s how to give me money! Why should you?

Venmo: @Geoff-Lewis
Cash App: $gplewis09

It won’t be enough! I need huge! Oh, I forgot, I’m already trying and here’s what makes me worthy:

a link to my Patreon in the raw—rawness reminds me of wetness, and how the psyche longs to lust, be wet and die (this is a remembering spree; I am the gate to my own private eternity)

they wanna see me try, struggle and fail; there is no “they”; I am worthy enough but not yet; I have to work for it; “passion” means to suffer for; I am trying to tell you everything I know and open up and be generous; I am doing my best, it isn’t enough, it has to be, the world has to change, you have to see, that could change the world


(painful drama) but it’s fake pain, it’s fear of imagined scenarios of being left homeless, hungry, cold, wet; it’s a facing of fear with lack of money as a motivator, a hovering club ready to beat you — — but this is the war of art, no? Learned firsthand, using nothing but my own fear and insecurity and hope and energy and honor? Is this enough? Have I torn enough of myself away? Is my heart and soul enough? Need I do more? Where should I go? I’m on the edge of desperation, calmly; trying to figure it out, wanting and waiting, life screaming, the angel in the marble trying to come out, to be met by LOVING MONEY, yes, money is now the only believable embrace, thoughts and prayers and hope are no good; I need more, more, more; oh, my wound is so deep, six thousand dollars a month would start to cure it; ah, business meetings, pitches; making myself legible, real, seen and chosen — give them the freedom to learn more and reject me, archive me, since there is a long line of others pleading their case for freedom, wanting full resourcing for their adorable antics behind a screen, becoming a digital version of themselves; this is my fate


you have to want it again and make it messy and you can’t rely on one person having liked it a long time ago; if it’s good, get it liked again today by real beating hearts underneath this current sun — not just depending on a story from another day, a day gone by; there’s too much present now (GPL 9/13/22), you have to sign your desire warrant in blood, you have to PROVE you want it again: walk through fire for your art and your freedom; it will relate, others didn’t follow this dream and we’re all masters of what we did not do.

i remember desperately shopping this around
when scarcity reared its little head


thank you Stephanie Georgopulos for including this in Human Parts!

I am here to introduce myself and my inner voice (often in italics; I will try to save the speaker/author of the poem ~ my life may be a high-wire act of daring to fail to be paid* enough* to live. It’s complicated, the drama of being good enough creatively, of being worthy of one life, a spot on the grid — as if it could be taken; as if anyone could give it

written this morning after waking up with anxiety about not being able to pay the rent that is due to my landlord today
Venmo @Geoff-Lewis
Cash App $gplewis09 or get in touch for another payment method of your choice 🙏💸❤️🤷‍♂️😌🤪👌

oh no, don’t make me highlight the links again; is that really the next move in this years-long fever dream of writing on the internet and continuing to believe I am a unique writer, artist, dreamer, poet, singer, curator?? no one can or will answer; i am pure curiosity

ok, did that; do i need to hand-draw the QR codes myself? is that what it would take to make you help me, see me, love me? see, the longer i go without an answer, the more lyrics appear onscreen; the longer the drama is prolonged, the deeper of a [what i am] i become; the floating eyeball descends down looking for the way to be what it needs to be above ground

ahem. Sir? Let’s get back on track here. Ah, here we go. Dialogue, perfect grammar, upper-case, my fathers’ language: law, rhetoric, discipline, anguish, punishment, constraint. Who will pay you to dance? Well, better study the market, the shows, the form, your weaknesses! No one’s going to do it for you or make it easier: you must become the search for form. Who will help? Whoever you meet. Ah, I am the father talking to itself through the son; I am the son, the sun and the moon. Oh, this drama of not knowing: how easily it unfurls.

Please —

who will pay?
who will make it easy?
do i actually want to be known; do i want to have to do what i can to become good then great and real all the way
dare i make the entrance more complicated
don’t i tempt you to ask why me, why now then walk away
don’t i also not want to be clicked, sent money, saved, robed, given armor and safety; don’t i reject it. this is a bad sales pitch. i am not my best administrator; all i can do is block myself because i am my writing/reading voice and i love disaster and turmoil; i am fire and water, this is me, i am fire and water rushing through the pipe but also outward to destroy civilization; water and fire feast to flood.

Back against the wall in the slow-motion drama of being out of money and not yet knowing how to fend for yourself, needing and wanting a rescuer but knowing I can’t be rescued externally and nothing is wrong, the pain is knowing and accepting that the past is gone and you have a bright future ahead but it only comes six seconds at a time and life happens to you alone, it is a one-player game, even with others around, the whole thing happens within you the whole time — so how to understand and inhabit this aloneness completely and then make poetry, art, music recordings, plays, operas, paintings, movies, voice recordings, speeches, lessons, essays out of it, get out of this hell, say whatever you have to say to whoever you have to say it to get out, out to the safety of pure air of having emptied yourself, there is no other safe handlebar to grab onto except having exhausted yourself — and you can always share; there are 150 people you could direct message and share your progress, they can keep track of you, will keep the story warm in their head — all we have is each other and the language we have inherited, the meaning of the passage of time — and you say all this to solve or distract from your money problem which is a relationship and a framing problem, a policy problem, a democracy problem, a not having enough friendships you actually live in problem, every kind of problem is tied up in this wanting and needing to not have to humiliate yourself in front of your landlord by saying “Hey, I don’t have my share of the rent,” then making a promise and having to fulfill it — this brings up every remembered and analyzed promise anyone made to another that was broken, my parents’ divorce, the sacrament of marriage, what religion even is; this all forces me to deal with my own reluctance to keep going, to make hours and days great again, to live in them, to keep the story going instead of sitting down on the curb and waiting for the sun to go down and for starvation or the wolves to finish my body and take me out of the game, essentially aborting myself — one must reinvent and say again the reason he is here at all every day. How was every day until now easy? Where did it go? Was I there? No reader can tell me I am here, I have to be real alone first and stand there with no scaffolding, no safe thing to hold me, I must hold myself like a toddler learning to walk on strong legs underneath him. Job security is shit, marriage is shit, all safe things can go away, only what you are is sure to remain. So what’s the point for somebody else: write alone with the screen off in the morning, face your fears, cultivate this internal voice and let it drive the action of your marionette — in your home, on your street, in your office, your body is your soul’s shadow on the earth; your body is a place where your soul becomes visible information to another in their schema: you are a node in their constellation. Perhaps this fact of human nature is what upsets me, the fact that I’ll only ever be one of many to anybody else, a peg in some giant system they may not care to care for like I do mine.

With the screen back on, I have to wonder what writing does. Sure, it puts me in touch with what I really think, feel and believe — is this enough to get someone through the day? The thing about yesterday is it’s gone — have we really all moved on every day of our lives? Has it always been like this?

I do have to wonder if there’s room in this essay for you or if I’m just up on a high wire twirling like a babe, a supermodel, my heroin fantasies, my girls…beautiful women fuck up the model of the world; sexual desire (which mostly I have squelched and overcome recently, having had feelings for someone who didn’t return the vibe, we drifted apart, and I had nowhere to pour my energy and nothing to look forward to)…sexual desire is something to harness for something better and more lasting than bedroom nudity and orgasming, it’s nice but it’s not enough and doesn’t mean enough — sex only makes sense with money because two people getting intimate and impersonating fornication and conception are really about making a contract with the land around them, making a promise to be here — unfortunately we will be here for 30 years and the days and hours have to make sense like the previous ones did.

I think I know how to live, I just don’t know where the money comes from. Other people who read this? They have their own bills and bosses and diapers and food to buy, why should they pay for mine? This leads to the ultimate question of what do you really do, and everybody wrestles with this, so you have to tap it, but again there’s a lack of money — while of course there are men, white men, who love the Wall Street Journal and the stocks and are shareholders, i.e. making money off other people working, only suckers work, work is obvious, that’s the crisis of it — and if I’m wrong and this leads me to my eventual team and manager and I can put all this writing behind me and never speak to anyone again about what I thought when I was alone, great. The performance of team-building and showing up at an office…no, no, it’s dead, remote work is the future, I miss the coffee shop, somewhere where others are fighting through what I’m fighting through — capitalism is fine, corporations are fine, they aren’t going away, men won’t exist without making contracts with one another, we love City Hall and Washington and the police force, we love that the threat of violence keeps everything in order, order is beautiful, it’s trustworthy. So deep in our nature we want something reliable and trustworthy, something we all agree to protect, to look around at the eyes of those around you and know implicitly that we are playing the same game, protecting the same thing. Is San Francisco my problem? No; the story might be. Los Angeles would make me work harder and more often, reach out more, because I’d be desperately alone — but look how productive I am alone; the problem is socializing around your work, i.e. how to be profoundly apart and making stuff out of the scariest, doomiest part of your awareness, then go talk about it to other people; ugh, it’s an awful prospect — my only hope is writing what I want to say and putting it out to an audience, but I don’t think anyone reads it…I can’t know who reads it (well, they do message sometimes) — God, wanting a relationship is so interesting, and it’s like it’s never happened before, everything in the past wasn’t enough.

This is not an essay because there isn’t a point except I’m here and pay me, Venmo @Geoff-Lewis or PayPal and then you are reminded of the companies, Google, Venmo, groups of people, legal entities, a corporate fiction, a story some people tell themselves about what is real — people agreeing on reality is always momentous and messy, muddy, murky…one could quote somewhere here who said the only aristocracy is the one of passionate souls. Tennessee Williams I think. Ah, saying someone’s name is powerful, it renews the whole grid! I’m like a bird waking up to learn the world is still here! Amazing! Is it a place I can meet my needs? Yes! Can I ask for help? Yes!

I could just not read Twitter. Should we talk about that addiction?
Addiction means your body needs it and you can’t function without it. Fair. The hunger for culture and connectivity cannot be quenched inside your apartment alone; though the strength of a writer or artist is the ability to stay ignorant for five hours: be able to not check online or for feedback on your or others’ work, to be alone, to use only your taste, to not look things up on Google (anybody can Google, anyone can fact-check, anyone can do the obvious thing — what can you do that no one else can? That’s my favorite question and should be yours too, now that institutions have revealed themselves to not be good caretakers of our way through life. Marriage can do it (tell me about it — if you’re reading this, I want to hear back from you; I’d like you to be as honest with me as I’ve been and will keep being with you)

Monetizing relationships. Intimacy leads to questions of who will protect you. It sucks, it’s hard, it’s terrible, this need to pay rent to stay in the game at all. Money is the nexus of all this confusion and meaning, selling, who we are to each other — this is growing up, but something tells me the previous generation didn’t do it like this, they weren’t exposed to so much information, the global heartbeat wasn’t in their pocket all the time, and so the choices were easier because there were fewer choices. They weren’t responsible for the world, someone else was: the President of the United States, the head of household, the boss, the board — someone else, always someone else. Now is the age of responsibility: everybody worth knowing about is broadcasting using their personal technology and it’s up to us to decide who to listen to, how to curate our reality. We live in a world where money (and fear about money) is maybe the only common language we all have — we all obey the land and the clock; we all agree on months, weeks, days and time of day — when it’s on the record, it’s making its appeal to be official: what’s written down is official; it’s the reality you should be afraid of being out of sync with. Mail used to do this: paperwork, bills, notices to appear in court — these were official (the drama of a knock at the door, a man handing you an envelope saying “You’ve been served”) and being disobedient of them meant certain death, or jail time, or separation from the herd. Animals. Apes. Social animals is what we are, arranged into hierarchies. All this needs a reader, someone to help make it into what it can be and get it to the people who might like to read it. I have no idea how other people read, or live, or think. I stay inside online reading other people’s thoughts but it is a bubble, it is not America, though it’s fun to go out in America and go to, say, a diner, or go for a drive, or walk around a town, get a coffee, go in a shop — it’s beautiful! But we stay inside typing and on phones and sighing — why? Why don’t we want to live? Why am I reluctant to be here at all?

And who would want to go on this journey with me?
That’s the ultimate bet: I won’t have some external job; the job of my life will be to dig out my soul and make it a journey you can go on in your own time; I’ll be the star of your email inbox, I’ll be one of maybe two email newsletters you can keep up with (I’ve only ever been able to keep up with two, I don’t know about you — and I’d like to know about you!)

I wonder if the kind of reader I need doesn’t exist, if nobody has that patience — isn’t the world on fire? Does anyone have time? Isn’t everyone desperately thrashing to solve their problems and meet their needs? Isn’t everyone behind on money and love? Can I be a place you feel loved? Can I be a place you figure out you don’t need as much love as you thought? Can I show you how to self-love? Can love be self-service? Like all things, the answer is “Yes, and…” so yes you can love yourself, and you need a hand to hold onto, somebody else going through the same thing. Humans were meant for two, we were meant to tangle and be couples, but how boring are couples? Have you seen Instagram or Facebook? What a wreck of trying to prove they’re having fun or that they’re on track. The whole enterprise of existing in others’ heads is fraught — I’m aware I’m doing it now, that I need to do it, I need 150 people to know what I’m on and yet I am skeptical and even angry when I see others making this same play to be seen and known. Social media is a full cup of posts one by one by people trying to land with other people, it’s so noisy, endlessly noisy, endless signal to tune into and nobody can gatekeeper for you. Media companies try, they put out a signal, 98.5 KFOX, channel 472 MSNBC, all signals are out there and you can be any of them — which is your tribe?

I’d be so excited for you to read this. I will put it online right now, tweet it, make breakfast and coffee, and do the next things in the day including the awful project of telling my landlord I don’t have enough money to pay my share of the rent. Venmo @Geoff-Lewis, I am desperate, I hate having to say it, and this is a learning how to be better next time, throwing myself on the mercy of life and of other people, learning to trust, learning to fly, learning to be a person which I thought I did before, now I have to be a solopreneur — there are so many of us/them, men at least, operating without an institution, sending emails and doing podcasts; the structure could work for me, will have to work for me since I won’t tolerate shitbird coworkers commuting in to do email, no, no desperation, no trying to do things right, the theater of work, I’ve seen it enough times to know I’d rather die writing alone than trying to appease a boss with a LinkedIn profile and investments and vacation destinations. I hate those guys, I don’t know why, I can’t explain my rancor for others and what they do or don’t do with life. I’m just mad I haven’t found and solidified my tribe and moved in with them — but who would have me as a neighbor or a guest?