Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Looking For Each of Us

Painting by Giorgio de Chirico

Looking For Each of Us

I open the box of my favorite postcards
and turn them over looking
for de Chirico because I remember
seeing you standing facing a wall
no wider than a column where
to your left was a hall going
straight back into darkness,
the floor a ramp sloping down
to where you stood alone
and where the room opened out
on your right to an auditorium
full of people who had just heard
you read and were now listening
to the other poet.
I was looking for the de Chirico
because of the places,
the empty places. The word
“boulevard” came to mind.
Standing on the side
of the fountains in Paris
where the water blew onto me
when I was fifteen. It was night.
It was dark then too and I was alone.
Why didn’t you find me? Why didn’t
somebody find me all those years?
The form of love was purity. An art.
An architecture.
Maybe a train.
Maybe the shadow of a statue
and the statue with its front
turned away from me.
Maybe one young girl playing alone,
hearing even small sounds
ring off cobblestones
and the stone walls.
I turn the cards looking for the one
and come to Giacometti’s eyes
full of caring and something remote.
His eyes are loving and empty,
but not with nothingness,
not for the usual reasons, but because
he is working. The Rothko Chapel empty.
A cheap statue of Sappho
in the modern city of Mytilene
and ancient sunlight.
David Park’s four men
with smudges for mouths,
backed by water,
each held still by
the impossibility of what
art can accomplish.
A broken river god,
only the body.
A girl playing with her rabbit in bed.
The postcard of a summer
lightning storm over Iowa.

Linda Gregg

Posted over on Poetry Foundation

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