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.
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than as a historical reference,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.
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.
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.
For Something Different, a new bird photo each day, visit my other blog:
Sitting on the fourth shelf
from the top, in the second rank
of bookcases in my office
is a somewhat worn copy
Dylan Thomas is “Portrait
of the Artist as a Young Dog.”
I can’t admit to ever having read it,
or an ability to now recall if I did,
but I know I’ve had several young dogs
in my 66 years, but none
were particularly artistic;
but perhaps I set too high a standard
as they did seem to treat
the white tiles in the foyer
of my parents suburban home
as a canvas on rainy spring days,
very much to my mother’s dismay.
In a bit less
than an hour
a new exhibit
empty space will
bodies of artist
universes will form
a thousand children
will be born
an old man in
a distant city
will slip away
a contented look
will ask why
but all of that
is not now,
but in a bit
As you walk through
this particular space
will you see a small
child perched on a stool,
crayons in hand, a small
rectangle of paper
on the top of the desk
a world you could
never hope to understand,
or an older woman, leaning
on her walker, staring
into the canvas, struggling
to see each brush stroke
and three workmen
white hard hats, retractable
rules and laser levels,
measuring the gallery
against the blueprint
which are artists —
which is art —
does it matter?