As an undergraduate (Douglass College), I majored in two pretty impractical subjects, English Literature and Art History, and they remain my deepest loves. Visit my website, www.barbaracrooker.com, to see more.
We Are Living In Magritte Weather;
above our heads, in “The Battle of the Argonne,”
floats a luminous cloud and a granite stone,
history’s opposing forces, dividing night
from day. You can’t see us in the painting;
everything human’s reduced in scale, the kind
of tiny town an electric train runs through.
But we’re there, in the shadows, beside the small
barn, still doing our work, tending our gardens,
while generals mass their armies, and politicians plot
their next moves. Beneath our feet, more stones,
dreaming their flinty dreams. They neither yearn
for more nor envy their neighbors. They roll where
gravity takes them, gather moss and starlight.
They remember glaciers, and they praise the sun.
If you lie on the ground in the moonlight,
they will whisper what you need to save your life.
-from More (C&R Press, 2010)
“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol,
just look at my films and paintings and me.
There’s nothing behind it. That’s all there is.”
It is all surface, isn’t it, the thin blue silk of the sky, an oak leaf’s chlorophyll
production line, the unblinking eye of the pond? When I was as shallow
as an undergraduate could possibly be, I peeled off from a field trip
to Soho galleries to visit The Factory; my friend and I
nearly identical in our veneers: ironed hair, wheat jeans, black
sleeveless shells, our unwavering scorn of the outside world . . . .
It was dazzling, every surface painted silver: the walls, ceilings,
tables, chairs, bathroom fixtures, like walking into a roll
of aluminum foil. And Andy—thin, spectral, white blond hair,
black sunglasses, nearly wordless. Mostly, he just was, the zen
of non-being, the art of perfect detachment. And we were mute,
too, inarticulate in our youth. We knew what it was we didn’t
want, but not what we did.
Now, all these years and lives later, the twistings and turnings
of many roads— some macadam, some asphalt, some stone—
I can’t remember her name, just how straight her hair was,
how it hung down her back like a bolt of cloth.
In the untidy closet of my heart, I think about what we put on,
fashion, facade, how many layers we need between our skin
and the rest of the world.
-from Line Dance, (Word Press, 2008)
©2015 Barbara Crooker