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It is impossible to tell if he sees any of his life as a set of symbolic polarities — art vs. business, the creative life vs. secure life, fame vs. recognition. He remains declaratively undeclared, saying “I’m a natural whatever-I-do,” perhaps to avoid the limitations of such definitions, perhaps offended by any attempt to box up the complexity of a truly bohemian life. Appreciate Mead’s “throwaway genius,” as Gary Indiana calls it in the introduction to Simple Country Girl, but don’t hold him to any of it. As the poem reads near the end of the book: I don’t need assholes/to tell me who/Taylor Mead is.