Of course, she’s sitting there, calmly, staring off onto space. She has to know something is amiss, no one has come to visit her in days, but she knows that whenever, if ever, whatever it is that is happening is finally over, that they will once again return, stare at her, wonder aloud and silently why she is smiling, and she will as always say nothing, for she was once told that it is better always to leave them wanting more.
Tomorrow Paris will count its newest dead, and the hospitals will pray the tide of bodies has been stemmed, or diminished and none of those in the battle will pause and consider DaVinci’s lady imprisoned forever in her sterile room, an eternal prisoner.
First published in Dreich, Issue 20, Autumn 2020 (Scotland)
If you accidentally break a wise man’s possession do you leave him with one that is incomplete or two awaiting completion.
If he asks you to replace it you may search endlessly, bring him a thousand replacements but expect him to reject each one as never being the same as the original. If you grow dejected, remember he still has the original in the cupboard.
They leap from the walls, they are in your face as you approach. You don’t know what to expect and that is precisely how they wish it. Still, you don’t tire of them, and you don’t recoil, but stare more intently. They engage you, defy you and welcome in the same moment, and you only want to follow them deep within the cinder block, the plaster, and take up residence alongside them, and from afar, the mural artists smile.
There is always that moment when I stand stock-still, afraid to move, the poised camera a lead weight on my hands, arms emaciated hammocks dangling from shoulders inviting something that will not come into focus.
The Great Blue heron, who is the sole focus of my attention, stares at me, or through or perhaps past me, with a patience I try failingly to emulate, knowing I will look away, lower the camera, see an egret, an ibis, someone who will give me pause, and the heron will take flight and I with twitch of finger will capture that place that she so recently occupied.
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On our first visit to Prague it was almost hard to imagine that this bridge was built to ferry people and traffic across the River. Now it is jammed with tourists and those for whom tourists are a ubiquitous market, and anyone needing to expeditiously cross the cranky water that every now and again must indulge the bridge, or use the less interesting bridges adjacent. There is a veneer of age about this ancient the statuary darkened by time and weather replaced when the waters get truly petulant and carry off statues they deem an affront. Motion on the bridge is slow and can tend toward gridlock, to the joy of those selling art and tchotchkes, and tchotchke arts that won’t be truly regretted by the buyer until it is hung on the wall next to the waterglobe miniatures of St. Matthias church and the parliament buildings Budapest.
I have no reason to venture to Tahiti for Gaugin took me there years ago, and again on a visit to Chicago and one to New York, or was it Cleveland, it hardly matters, for I know that the Tahiti of my experience no longer exists, touristed to death, itself at constant risk of drowning.
I did have reason to go to Arles, and there searched far and wide for the sky that Vincent promised, or the flowers, but the few stars visible through the lights and pollution of the city were pale imitations of the brilliant lights I know were there aj century ago.
Now I sit in my yard and watch the comings and goings of a thousand birds who deserve to be painted and not captured merely in pixels, for memory, human and electronic, fades with time, while art if not artists can be immortal.