Walking through the art gallery,
she frequently pauses to look
at paintings of couples in a bar
or a cafe, engaged in conversation.
I tell her they seem sad, as though
whatever romance they had
has waned, they having grown
apart, this a parting of sorts.
She laughs and says that I mistake
wistfulness for sadness, men
so often do, and adds they are
lovers falling ever deeper in.
She takes my hand gently, with
a look I might have deemed sad,
but knowing better. I realize
that I, too, am continuing my fall.
It is always, the artist told me,
a question of angles and elevations,
but I am sure that was just his perspective.
Dali threw all of that out, made
a pretty good living at taking perspective
out of his work, replaced by fluidity.
For Dali that fluidity resulted
in a fair bit of liquidity, which was
an irony not the least bit lost on him.
But even Dali ran out of time
before he ran out of ideas, it flowed
away from him and he did not care.
I choose to work with words,
for they are easily aligned with
what I imagine, from my perspective.
A length of thread
colorful to be sure
into a tapestry
part of a picture
for beauty, or
First Published in New Feathers Anthology Spring 2021
I have always wanted
to use the word lugnuts
in a poem, but still
have never found
the way to do so.
It is much the same
with my full set
of socket wrenches,
still in futile search
for a matching
set of sockets.
I keep my bastard
file in the garage
with the other files
and tools, but
my name is
the only one in it.
I have visited countless galleries,
stared at or shielded my eyes
from all manner of art, but
I always read the plaques
affixed to the walls, name
of artist, of work price,
the relative amount speaking
to the financial state of the gallery.
I actually care very little about
the name of the artist other
than as a historical reference,
for the piece has already spoken
or remained in total silence.
I do glance at the title
and wonder why so many
artists, of infinite creativity,
when it comes to words
are struck mute, and tell me
their work is simply “Untitled,”
which for me is but another
way of saying, unpurchasable.
He is for it or he is
against it, and if you could
predict the vacillations you
could develop the means
of measuring the flux of sanity.
You could as easily grasp
the water flowing downriver
and by asking select questions
determine the next heavy rain,
but the odds are good
you will be outside when
the deluge begins, and
only its ultimate weight
and duration remain to be felt.
It all comes down to the same
thing, if you could paint the sky
blue, precisely which shade
of blue would you use and why
that one for heaven’s sake
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)
It takes only moments for someone
to ask for a definition of poetry.
That task is at once terribly
simple and equally impossible,
a poem is many things
but not now or ever:
a paean to a self-aggrandizing
leader without soul
or sense of direction,
moral and literal;
a rant on how
all are conspiring
against you despite
your stable genius;
a Jeremiad decrying
to what you wish
them to be;
any attempt you
make or condone
“The New Colossus.”
One morning last week I decided
to plant myself at a busy intersection
and begin reading poetry, mostly
my own, I have to admit.
I was generally ignored, my usual
state, and that sadly of most poets,
when a scruffy, bearded young man
set up easel and paint next to me.
The morning seemed to relish
the stillness of this urban way station,
and we were easily ignored by the odd
pedestrian on her way to please not here.
As lunch hour approached, the streets
filled, and we were ready, this was
our moment, our world, until the
asylum escapee joined our duality
and preached loudly to those who
dared not avoid us, that the end
was nigh, and that we, artist and poet
were the living promise of heaven and hell.
Today I again took up the brush,
carefully mixed the sumi-e ink
and with hand poised over a sheet
of anticipating rice paper waited,
knowing that the moment for a stroke
was imminent but not yet at hand,
and I dare not force it for brush
painting is a practice that cannot
be compelled, a gentle merger
of idea, brush, ink and paper,
and if any are missing, a sadness
that can only be irreversible.
Today the brush considered the ink
and decided it was not a good day
and so I cleaned it carefully, set it
aside with the block of ink,
and rolling the rice paper, promised
it, myself, that we would repeat
this exercise until the moment was
right and the image was ready to appear.