August 24: No time for new art

August 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tonight I had to deal with a baby who just wouldn’t go to sleep. She just closed her eyes now, but it’s too late to create anything new, and I don’t dare turn the lights on. Instead, my creativity for tonight will consist of rereading and posting excerpts of some old poems, written while living in Tucson (the home of my heart).

Transformation poems


It started like this
D. looked at the grass shaped like something we had once seen and said,
I could make an art piece like this
I could build it in my back yard.

We walked on and
everything started looking like this and something else:
we saw a cliff looking like a castle,
split trees resembling vaginas.

Having heard us, nature took the effort, realigned itself,
huddled closer to form shapes we would know:
constructions and machinery,
something we could point to and feel right at home.

Things tried to look as if we had made them:
everything we know is this and something else also.

This they tried to emulate:
this need to squint through one eye to see things that aren’t there.

Dried leaves reconfigured to look
like teddy bears with ribbons ’round their necks
like something made of satin
a leaf dress for my wedding
a dead tree veil
a creek bottom pair of shoes

and worse

dead cactus wardrobes
wet leaf carpets
cracked tree front doors
waterfall bathtubs
frantic bird home zoos
stone couches and television stands

a carnival

an unnecessary ode to ourselves


A statue on the dashboard
(not a hula girl),
underneath the bed,
on the bathroom sink,
in the places children fear to look
(behind doors, for example
where shapes multiply
posing for statues
standing so still even tickles don’t move them)
He says
“Why would anyone want their gods to look like katsinas?”
but he knows
The statue has protruding lips between which who knows what can fit,
also cigarettes for rituals
(a row of tobacco, a row of petals)
Collecting things in plastic bags and cardboard boxes,
stacking them under the bed,
on the dashboard,
inside bra padding,
in corners and on ceilings
“We all do that,” someone muses, but this isn’t true


The first time he left the house walking,
having rehearsed long
urgent with a briefcase
three feet tall
rush hour traffic
of a living room floor
hidden by couch’s arms
other tall things,
they gave him a beak to wear:
Careful little child
of all kinds of dangers
you have no idea
corrugated cardboard
cut by hand
few words to speak
thin rubber band
across the back
keeping hair in order
step back in time to a wind-up bird
large key on navel makes it play
holds its bowels together
tin drum and military trousers stripes on sides
going straight down
like accordions and cabarets old tin toys make you uneasy,
they are somnambulists, ventrioloquists
they say
all kinds of dangers
Ta-Dam Ta-Dam
you have no idea
outside the boy pecked and pecked
shared jokes with birds
not once stuck his beak into a deep vessel out of which he couldn’t drink
held no one’s hand
no danger befell him
someone else dipped his beak into water and it rusted
scraping the bottom displacing the rocks
denting the key
obeying the drumming
Ta-Dam Ta-Dam


A Giacometti man very tall 10 feet tall
slim too slim nothing to hold him
perfectly oiled on the outside
slippery as a fish you can’t hold him
slips through all cracks
even in corners of ceilings
not wavy though transparent
in fact rather rigid
rusted on hinges
where oil doesn’t reach
can only take big huge steps
all he does must thus be important
seen by the village
his wife
A checkered dress woman very wide a lifetime wide
dress full of pockets hundreds of pockets
different materials different colors corduroys and reds
pockets hold everything you can think of
to light a fire
to put out a fire
to sing a song
foot long matches
wool socks
wears huge shoes
messy hair on Sundays
you can hide in her pockets if it’s cold
he hides in her pockets when it rains: it makes him sadder than he can take
she hides him when he bends in the waist and breaks
bends more beautifully
than a tree


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