Notes for a poem provisionally titled, ‘From the Lies of the Artists’
Imagination is a kind of glowing reality
that we can never touch. Desire is always
a work in progress.
between you and your reflection is no matter
how hard you polish, your reflection has no memory.
Is the purpose of art to fix the fugitive
or to smartarse its way to oblivion?
Andy Warhol understood life was a series
of images that change as they repeat themselves.
Somewhere in the midst of love and debauchery
are reputations destroyed. An inch of the world
doesn’t equal an inch of Rembrandt or de Kooning.
Rothko lost it. Manet ate his cat.
The Wolves of Poetry
They say, ‘You have been spending all your time
in books.’ Accused, you flop into a chair.
The chair is made of books. Sheer sentences
slide beneath you, frictionless, resistance
reduced to microns by their poetry.
‘Well?’ they say. You think before you flinch.
The moon is up and browsing through the night.
It peeks in at the window. They do not
like this one bit. You tip the moon a wink.
The moon is like a token or a disc
of light inside a wineglass. Should you tell them
the moon is almost certainly a book?
They stare at you with heavy, bookless faces.
You let yourself fall very slowly shut.
‘What do you know,’ they bark, ‘about the Wolves,
the Wolves of Poetry?’ You tell them nothing,
as if to say, the book is an abyss.
All they can hear is howling, howling, howling.
Her name was Eve. She was almost
invisible at first. At dusk,
when day goes into slow reverse,
I caught her having second thoughts
about what hurts and doesn’t hurt,
and sin. The shadows grew quite long.
We sat alone. There were no clocks.
We sort of drifted off to sleep –
not quite, we dipped our toes in sleep –
and when we woke we saw the light
had gone out of the world. The light
had gone and there was nothing left
to fill the sky, and so we lay
awake, not knowing what to say.