Dates, names…

Dates, names, faces come to mind—
to what purpose?
Why do I think of them now?
Or rather, why don’t I think of them more?
He struggles to be the scholar he isn’t
To enlighten us (about what?) when he can’t
He’d strangle us in useless words, if we’d let him,
circular constructions, pompous frills
and obtuse, meaningless jargon


They see in his massive figures
a sovereign indifference to non-physical beauty
The luminosity of the atmosphere
and the three dimensional treatment of the sky
is all the justification in praise that they’ll find
Powerful, but without taste, clumsy
blunt, archaic and audaciously simple
the struggles of loneliness, isolation in him all connected
in the end by accidental, unanticipated, mean and unruly events


I don’t know why they hired him—
slicked down greasy, black hair, much too loud, a grifter
kind of look, inappropriate in a suited lawyer guy
A friendly greeting for him was to remark upon how big
that cookie you’re eating is—he annoys me,
this classless schmuck
Supposedly, he’d bring in business from the entrepreneurial, tight 
Brooklyn crowd, an unlikely bunch of lowly hoods, I thought
and I don’t believe it


He thought of himself primarily as a mathematician
We know him as a painter
one of the best, if not the best, with a brush
The godliness of his vision is in the colors (even in their fade)
in the perspective (how high the sky, how austere the subjects,
their elaborate dress) the detail, the purity
Look how they touch the ground and yet
seem to elevate, ascend into air,
connected to us forever in time and gusto


Greasy guy lasted a little over two weeks
Something about indemnifying a guy or his sleazy business
without asking the partners first
“He didn’t think he did anything wrong”
The head partner said   
“He just didn’t get it”
When I saw him later, he told me
“I have two kids and a mortgage,
I don’t know what I’ll do now”


I’ve never met anyone who, like you, wears her baseball cap
backwards and who isn’t an asshole
This truth, I swear, is all but universal
Lovers create each other in their own image
While that illusion lasts, they never tire of each other’s company
because they think they have finally met themselves
The plan, I guess, was to break up with me gradually—
because she’d grown to depend upon my solicitude and company
and couldn’t bear to give them up entirely just yet


“So is this final difficult?”
I asked my Spanish teacher
“Not for me,” he smiles, “Not for me”
The rumor is he went blind in old age like Bach
But I think his sight or its loss all but irrelevant as
I stare at the many gradations of green
in the newly sprouted spring trees
I see the wild, inexhaustible, asymmetrical gusto
expressed like eloquent equations of our deepest lives beneath


His contacts had retired or died
No one called him for advice anymore
his skills still undiminished, wasted
He didn’t care about the money (perhaps he should have)
but this inactivity, this uselessness, this anonymity 
made him sad
In order to learn more you need to feel the gleam
No difficulty is too difficult
once you realize, once you see


It’s the grossness of the spectator
that sees nothing but grossness in the object
Today she seems mediocre, random, mortal
Exiles tend never to return home, you know
Everybody’s charm is treacle
Everybody’s charms
“If you really see for yourself,
you’ll be yourself,” she taught me
“Each of these parts echoes the whole”



-May 12, 2013-