A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
"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.