Sunday, November 11, 2012

Unlearn the Constellations to See the Stars

Earthgirl and I took motherfucking Metro (and O! Metro motherfuckers) yesterday to see the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at the East Wing, that's the video of our trip, where were you? Some really good images of permanent East Wing art, but East Wing allows you to take photos of permanent exhibitions while forbidding photos of visiting exhibitions, I was only able to sneak one shot of a Lichtenstein, this one, taken totally at random:

And got HEY!ed by the guard, annoyed I made him look up from his iPhone. Lichtenstein's cartoon-themed paintings he's renowned for never ever oomphed me (despite the above), but up those stairs to the left of that painting, up the stairs past Lichtenstein's cartoon phase, Holyfuck. Holyfuck. I had never seen his sculpture in person, Holyfuck, the dot paintings, Holyfuck, the Japanese paintings, Holyfuck. HEY!, here start the Mekon requests I promised, below the fold more Mekon requests lotsa links, Jack Gilbert poems!


Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.


Jack Gilbert

In the small towns along the river
nothing happens day after long day.
Summer weeks stalled forever,
and long marriages always the same.
Lives with only emergencies, births,
and fishing for excitement. Then a ship
comes out of the mist. Or comes around
the bend carefully one morning
in the rain, past the pines and shrubs.
Arrives on a hot fragrant night,
grandly, all lit up. Gone two days
later, leaving fury in its wake.


Jack Gilbert

He's absurd about the fountain.

That the verse be pure
And the letters cut with grace.

For this sorry square,
The brutality of this sun.

Where there isn't even a library.

Or he speaks of the girls
Coming for water.

How that one arranges the light,
Is this year's accomplishment.

What if she does take the morning
On her? And those breasts?

Already there is gossip
That only leaves her peasants.

To celebrate so a village girl
Soon to be broken.


Jack Gilbert

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within the body.


  1. Couldn't find a good version of "Orpheus", eh? Neither can I.

    I mean, except when I see them play it live.

  2. I've been HEY!ed by the guard at Kroger. After 11pm, even!

  3. There were a couple girls at the Halloween bash a couple weekends back who thought they were original for dressing up as Lichtenstein paintings until they saw each other, which of course meant priceless moments for yours truly!