Which one is he, I say of the quartet by the river. Which one is Klimt?
Oh, he’s the one with the kaftan. He always wore one in public.
And I think, maybe that’s the answer, maybe if I wore a kaftan
everywhere I go people might take more notice, might say,
o, that’s the famous poet, he has a new book coming out.
And I could promenade along the jetty, frequent the famous kiosk
where all the trendy people go; and maybe go the full monty like Gustav
beneath his kaftan painting in his studio so he’d feel less constricted;
maybe that’d do the trick, maybe that’d free my poetry up
I’m hunting for my birth certificate
to prove that I exist.
They seem to need convincing.
Isn’t it obvious? I ask
but obviously it isn’t.
They need that slip of paper.
In fact they insist upon it.
Doubting Thomases! I think
almost inviting them to touch me.
But I hold back
almost afraid to touch myself.
What if ….?
Perhaps I’ve gone around kidding myself
all these years.
Yes, I think, that slip of paper would help.
I hunt for it furiously.
If only to convince myself.
Caravaggio's 'The Incredulity of St, Thomas' courtesy of Wikipedia
I need cheering up, she says. I work better when happy.
A shared laugh would help, she adds.
So it’s down to me. What am I? A stand-up?
I can’t think of anything funny to say.
It’s a lovely sunny morning in spite of the forecast
so that’s something to be happy about
but happy isn’t funny.
I riffle through my corny joke book but she’s heard them all
even the good ones, like what do you call an Igloo without a toilet?
An Ig !
I thought that was pretty good but all it elicited was a groan.
And anyway, how necessary is it to be happy when you’re working?
Take art. Some of the best paintings were birthed in rage and fear.
Think ‘The Scream’ by Munch, Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ or Bacon’s ‘The Screaming Pope’.
You don’t read ‘In Memoriam’ for a good laugh or listen to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ for a bit of a lift.
These did not come from a happy place.
Sure, being in a happy place helps, but you’re not going to get the dark matter, the weight if you’re buoyant as a balloon.
pic by John Currin on Pinterest
Those rocks deflect you
from the red-backs
in your mind that crawled off your brush
onto the canvas that morning:
those Ned Kelly heads
staring at me
from the foot of the quarry:
you looking at me, I say.
You looking at me?
I’m the only one here.
Then I come and get you
and those stolid blocks of stone
with eye slits
wallop your imagination.
the ones you’re committing
to canvas so people can stare at them from the walls
of a gallery.
That’s all you can do.
It’s like being bundled
in the boot
of a car,
taken by an alien
You’re abducted, baby.
in the arms
Go with it.
Don’t freak out.
Work, paint, sing.
Whatever’s yr thing.
pic courtesy of The New Yorker
It wasn’t the person from Porlock; it was my aunt
Who got on the bus, brought my poem to an end.
My notebook slumped on my lap as she told me
The long sad story of a friend.
When she got off I had my chance but this young bloke
Sat next to me, iPod blaring, hair swooped back.
It was the White Stripes live from Splendour.
How could I not listen ? It was Meg and Jack.
But then a cross-eyed biker got on, hair in a rat’s tail,
Skin graffitied with tatts. How could I not look?
His arms a graphic novel. Then a woman got on
Shouting into her mobile, angry as ‘The Angry Book’.
The sad sack on the other end was out for the count.
Luckily Coleridge didn’t board this bus
while he was dreaming ‘Kubla Khan’. He wouldn’t
have written a word. The poem would be dust.
- picture courtesy of Pinterest by TheTatt
He’s just heard the news. He slumps, decides to act breezily.
“I am getting a half -Van Gogh,” he says over the phone.
“A half -Van Gogh? What is that?”
“You know how Van Gogh lopped off his left ear after a fit of madness, or so it’s claimed?”
“Well, I’m getting half my left ear, the lobe lopped off.”
“Why? Why would you do that?”
“You said you would love me even if I had half my face missing.”
“I know but …”
*photo by Jean Carlo Emer from Pinterest
I like to read the crazed calligraphy of car tyres
on roads, the angry black swathes of rubber
on bitumen from burn-outs and donuts. What are we
to make of such marks, the road their canvas?
Do we elevate it to ‘outsider art’; Do we call them,
‘hoons’ or ‘street artists’? Do they love the smell
of burnt rubber in the morning as they furiously apply
the high octane brush of machismo? Do they,
I wonder, gloat over their works in the days & weeks
that follow, as if they were pictures hanging on a wall ?
- pic courtesy of pixabay by Jan-Mollander
I was thinking of Beth’s post*
from the previous night
about the free exchange of art objects
in Ann Arbor.
Beth’s home town
begun by glass-maker Shawn Bungo
& I thought,
we do that all the time
posting our little gifts to each other:
our poems, ruminations, stories
freely on the web,
leaving our comments, LOLs,
emojis of approval
practicing the noble art of reciprocity
that is never lost
& enriches a community wherever
it is found