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"Tiny hatches, if you make enough of them, make an entire etching move," you told us while we smoked in the lit cave of your Tuesday 1-2:15. We scratched our pens: dance & film posters, flyers to end the war. In our famous jeans we slouched before your podium & slides weaving the movements & the solo trips. "He was lonely." "She had no patron." "Scale extends us & reins us in," you said of the strange Piranesis. "Find the heart of a city by stepping in." My alleys & arcades pressed onto the copperplate of my 20-year-old brain fusing its hemispheres. I hitched to Colmar and found the Isenheim Altarpiece, figures on the old panels aflame, then turned my back on all religions because you'd shown us Goya's firing squad & Daumier's gutters where people looked for water. "Movement in a painting is important as Dante." I've looked for Dante's houses, cafés, notebooks, & horse-stalls, & someone always says Oh, you mean The Poet. "The body doesn't make sense by itself," you said, pointing the red-tip wand at the chalky nudes of Ingres. If I am lonely in any town whose museum treasures its one Whistler or Bonnard, I stand before the image hear your voice; my eyes un-scroll, I lift again like a hinge.
Copyright 2019 Judith Vollmer.
Judith Vollmer’s books include The Water Books published by Autumn House Press.
The Burden (The Laundress) by Honoré Daumier (1850-53). Hermitage Museum.