A couple weeks ago (gosh, is it already that far past?), Thalia and the
Brilliant Scrupulously Exact Physicist came to visit. Having but limited time together, and the Scrupulously Exact Physicist having nixed the suggestion that we go busking with a plaid hat and a repertoire of hymns, we took ourselves down to the museum in town.
You know the one. The one with a weird bit of iron out in front, and a weird bit of carved wood out back, and oddness in between.
We determined that it would be diverting to level our most withering wit at the works within, provided we were suitably fortified; Thalia had the further brainwave that we might tell the truth slant – in fact, not merely slant, but actually perpendicular to our normal mode of discourse. All of which is to say that we gathered up our pens, notebooks, and a flask of bourbon, and rhapsodized in the blankest verse we could muster.
(Dear sweet teetotalers: surely even you understand the importance of fortification against the utter lack of metanarrative in postpostmodern art? Have you not read your Walker Percy? Do you not know that “post-painterly abstraction” is an honest term used by an art critic to distinguish from earlier abstract expressionism? Read this whole page and tell me you don’t want a drink by the end of it.)
(N.B. that we were, at least, covert in our potation. The Scrupulously Exact Physicist whose pockets guarded the flask ended up quaffing the lion’s share, which is to say, maybe an ounce or two more than the rest of us.)
So without further ado, here are the fruits of our labors.
First, the piece the Scrupulously Exact Physicist wrote on: Smoke Rings, by Donald Sultan
“Thunderstorm in Purple No. 6”*
flames of unity,
darkness spills through it.
A phoenix is promised to ignite from the ashes
its crimson mane flowing,
as the firefox turns
and peace is dislodged
How many times?
will an elder rise or fall?
Cut from the top
in a swirl of cloud.
I wrote on something by Richard Diebenkorn. It might not have looked exactly like this, but it was…similar:
Re: un tarde de Julio…
an envelope not yet trimmed or folded
rain has worn down the lines
jagged door opening
revealing naught but beige beyond.
Three figures sit at the bottom of it,
soon to be cropped out
by demands of time,
the folds pulling upward and away.
That bleeding paper
(such it might be)
bled not from any meaningful word,
any knife of truth.
All is quiet
All is empty.
assayed beauty via truth
as assured by Keats of unity
and believing truth
simple to see
simple to sign
a veil drawn over drawn truths
or a wash over half-depicted figures
not sad empty hopeless being,
nor vacant past plains:
a slightly yellowed page
awaiting drawing of the future.
Lastly, Thalia peered up at Helen Frankenthaler’s Sunset Corner, wrote a while, then carefully removed a number of connecting words and threw a brick at her punctuation. Seems apt.
Venetian Earthquake by Candlelight*
(Cower, blood – Dry)
murk, jagged; lurk, snagged –
Possess, weigh, measure, despair
Ache, bile, blotch
Central – corrosive
Control, Knot, Vomit.
A template ?
Abrupt, the hope
Hence therefore; hell.
*Credit must be given to our friend, the Doctrix M. Harrison, for pointing out that such poetic assays must be titled appropriately, and for her endeavor to find something appropriate.