06 June 2013

Thick With Cicadas

their eyes glitter, jewel-red, from
the forest, a clattering cloud of sound, too,
after seventeen years of sleep, held
aloft by stained glass, many paned wings, forced out,
emerging from the earth to
eat and mate and die in quick
succession, leaving a feast for the birds

no time for any but the
essential--hatched, matched, and
despatched--such a little time, too, to
leave their mark, but still, they do, these
expedient creatures, their chorus swelling
in mechanical fervor before they
are silent again, these
Rip Van Winkles of insects, the next cycle
finding us greyer and, perhaps
harder of hearing, yet they will be the
same, an insect army, their ranks intent,
unrelenting, marching across lawns and
hedgerows, an invading force driven by
insect instinct

03 June 2013

Art for All

let there be art
for all!
art on the slip of paper
in your pocket,
on the back of the cereal box,
on your gum-wrapper,
on the very soles of your shoes,

art, too, suspended in
mid-air, hung to dry under
the sun, the pigments
still fresh to the touch,
the images not yet

and beat the devil of
self-doubt into a corner,
smash his skull with a
hammer so he troubles
you no more, your fingers
free to boldly mark
the canvas and say
yes, I was here to
chronicle this moment as
sun wipes away the dark,
scouring away with light
all the pre-dawn
indecisions, revisions,
faulty thoughts leading one
down the wrong road

let there be art
for all!
a child of art wielding crayons,
a housewife of art, working circles
through the dust,
the weekend painters daubing
their watercolors, the
avant-garde of art, the
cow-butchers of art, the
cool businessmen of art, the
art unseen on silent walls,
the sidewalk art worn away
by August rains pouring hotly down,
there is
art for all if we only
look for it

let there be art
for all:

for the interior decorators of art,
the scrawlers in damp sand, the
hands forming clay into
ordinary household vessels,
the acolytes of art,
the Facebook artists of the
virtual video box

let there be art for all
and freedom for all
to tell their tales as they
see fit

see it, there, as it glances
past you--as slowly as a
cat threading through your ankles, your
eyes opened as if newborn, forever
seeing, as if for the first time,
a feast laid out in every
form, for every taste and
there is enough for all
and art for all!

Cave Paintings

when did she find the time
to paint them--these bison
leaping across the stonewall
after the hunting and
gathering of the day was done,
fingertips purpled with
tints ground down to
a powder, the
fireflames slashing the
night air random
punctuations illuminating her
slow and steady work, each
stroke a prayer for a
kill to furnish meat for
the children, their bulk
brought down by sharp-tipped
spears under the roasting sun,
limbs torn from limbs, blood
rushing, red, into a gulley,
awaiting the sear of flames,
their forms galloping still
across the cavewalls

Stones, Circular

the gods could see them
from the sky, these
arrangements of stones, pointing
heavenwards, the furrows
dug into the earth, too, a
script for their god-eyes to
see, these appeals for
clemency and a good
harvest, in simple unadorned
eloquence, ungilded, made
with what was at hand, an
artful shaping of nature to
tell a tale, make some
supplication, the stones and
furrows are silent, but tell
their stories, nonetheless.

the bonfires, too, crackling up, the
smoke streaking skywards a
curious script, scrolling out
all those human desires


the face graved in stone
once felt the rain as
yours does now, fed the
children, watered the
garden, watched the rising
and setting
of the sun, counted the
mysteries on her fingers,
wondered at the future,
twisted the strands of
gold together until she
felt their strength, drew them
through the fabric, the
domestic arts of adornment
hers, even to the last

waited for her husband to
return from the war,
burnt meals,
and still swept the floor in the
face of death, pestilence,
and despair

Jonas Bronck and the Dollar Savings Bank

at the Dollar Savings Bank Jonas
Bronck stands, perpetually in negotiation
with some Indians, sealing the
deal, making an exchange

while mother waits on line,
heavy rolls of coins weighing down
her everyday handbag, to his left the first stone
house is raised and a new
community started under the
same old sun, stone by stone,
the panels bordered in gilded goldleaf in
this palace of art deco, high-ceilinged, velvet-roped

and the teller with teased hair
wearing a green-black-pink-paisley blouse smooths back
an errant curl and gestures with

her eyes.  Next.   then back to the
burning sun outside, walking past Poe's
house and on to St. James Park, we
exchange time for money and, sometimes, time for art,

building up a life in this
new world
brick by brick, stone
by stone


light and dark fringed with
lace, another royal court

shown in the mirror, the face
of the artist half in shadow,

infant faces grave beyond their
age, lisping tongues long silent

stores of silver long exhausted, the
family histories unfurled like a

flag, motheaten, the holes like
those for the yellow ribbon fed through

the telex, another painting sold
to the highest bidder

The Collector

the collector taps the catalogue
containing his great-grandmother's

pewter, the heat of the day
kept at bay by thickstone walls,

thin, leaded panes, pale walls
patterned with color, a carefully considered quilt

of all his acquisitions, on smooth-planed
shelves, too, the cut glass vitrines contain

several beating hearts, the credit panel for each labeled
in careful black and white, noting

their source and origin, written down, too,
in the black-bound book he habitually carries,

left, in a legacy, to his infant son


having a cup of coffee with
him she surveys the
cool geometries of the
picture postcards from the
gift shop, all the
ragged edges of ragged
days erased, the blocks of
color egg-yolk-yellow, tomato-
red, thick-bordered by black, as if
highways to show where
she might go, if she were
able, a map without a
legend, no scenic markers to
mar her concentration
Here. I. Am.
There. I. Would. Be.

Make Room for DADA

and baby says:
making room for Dada and the
art in all we see....
words tumble across the

out of an ageless
Europe Dada erupts onto
the page, the spillage
of somersaulting
texts, the clipped eyes, the
fragmentary pasted back
together into a new whole,
wholly itself and no other,
disjointed limbs, the
uncanny mechanics holding it all
somehow, a new coherence
for a new age aborning, the ships
leaving the ports for the Americas
pulsate with a new vigor, the

father shocking his conventional
son across the pond, himself a bastard
child left, wrapped in a broadsheet manifesto,
at the door of the academy, the clicking
of their tongues a chorus
of insects in his ear, deafening in their

and I say again:
now and for all time--
let there be art for all
let loose the floodgates of art
and for all to embrace
their art as they do a lover
leaving on a train,
breathing in their essence
until they are filled, entire