by Alex Schmidt
not at all blinding
and yet, very much so
the mechanics of our pat-a-cake desire
from drippings of an orange hue
to the bacon cooked for the kitchen’s so many marks
you’ll have painted
touching it in one light
allows you to see it better than in touching it in others
I don’t know what that is, said the painter
he was not the romantic-type
imagine the hand
becoming a bug, becoming the dirt
yielding forth an eye for the sky
you, in the basement
calling for help
speaking in plods like Milton
to you, and warmed into an erotic emergency
vehicle, sounding just below the belt
Thanksgiving in April
not a finger for one dimple on your body
not what Grandma liked
could you blame the rain the china
the light bulb you called Freddie
there is no sureness
those were just types of sets of days
superfluous essential lard-like
yes the workers will not leave they are in love
they don’t see it this way
at heart they are just kids
are having a time of it.
Their laugh, a veritable infinity.
Oh but they are so cruel. Silent
but deadly: influential beyond volition.
So much life here, yaps a passerby, what a mess!
Oh how they are so cruel. Open
like lit courts at night for tennis, like the dark
plays no part in their awareness, so volleying
in soft spotlights like hypocrites…
How they have issues with intimacy.
Oh but they mustn’t be blamed.
Happiness Beats A Dead Horse is the name of one.
A triptych in the corner titled: See Ya
whistles with hasty lines, splices of yellow,
red powdery spaces, random slips of pencil shading.
How they’re conceited as the birds. March
March March March March March the Willows
is the new exhibits’ title no one is to understand only—
under a ceiling as quiet as Saint Anthony’s Torment—
intended to be a kind of jeer.
Their laugh, a veritable infinity.
Oh how they are having a time of it. How art
at first is an adventure then shrivels up
to a volatile pin-prick. So so small as to become
like consciousness, yet nearly extra.
How they mustn’t be blamed. OK.
I’m pooped. Don’t want to be here any longer.
Why’s all this stuff have to be so difficult? What?
Hell! Find the postcards. This
Bullshit. No. Get Grandma…
Oh they mustn’t be blamed.
They are as infinite as the birds.
A burnt steak.
Roscoe Mitchell caged. Sun
under a flat tar roof with lots of books.
How flat? How many? Forever,
those joyous days like shots fired
repeatedly from our pent-up youth
made dreamily of the multi-colored stuffing
we saw in that one exhibit those days
when you and I would ache
second by second of every Dylan Thomas
on the L train! Dont forget
Joseph Jarman by the lake. The Art Ensemble
of those days flit everywhere toward the park.
Grant. And that’s just it,
for in this realm, size and sum don’t weigh.
After all, Philip, it is a rattle like a ricktor
marks the presence of your energy’s whizz
even when those days were now. And so,
what of a daze that floats I wish to down?
What of the feeling, like nodes of memory
glued in the manner of clouds’ lineage quietly
pfsssting away, constantly returning,
then pfssst. Organical is mechanical,
I said. Ideas to and from infinity. Thought
cannot think what is higher than thinking,
someone said. Certainly,
thought cannot be anything heavier
than what it is. Flowery masculinity
of Henry Miller remarked your professor,
feigning a tonnage. Maybe to remember
isn’t memory at all, maybe air. A vision
of your face like a daze before a lit window
becoming the question: what window?
The Great Rembrandt’s rat-peddler,
that fine, gentle mist of pencil! Or jazz!
I wonder, was it the weight of time that killed
our walks down Adams Street with Art Pepper?
Wait, that is taking it too far.
Nothing about Art Pepper can die.
Alex Schmidt is an avid reader and movie-watcher… He rarely “goes” to the movies. But on occasion, about once a day, you will find him thinking about, editing, maybe even writing, a poem. None of his poems have anything to do with his life directly (his wife, his two kids, his cat), but he finds this to be a natural trait in his instinct to make music. If one day his life leaks in, so be it. But for now, let music reign supreme. And let’s hope meaning rings familiar for centuries before its paraphrased. The cards have fallen and their residue is colorful.