Sunday, June 28, 2009

Or The Things We Liked at the Seattle Art Museum

We were talking, explaining the day: the art museum, the small nosed woman writer.
Talking in level tones about poorly spoken questions,
Andrew Wyeth and his Japanese browns and greens,
writing heart truth and creative facts,
when the lesson in how to build a stone wall happened along.

Why are you so mad? I ask.
The ferry rolls as the Sound pushes in on the lights of Bainbridge Island.
When I say aboriginal it means pulsing auras in weird colors baking under the burning December sun.
Not women weaving baskets away from the prying glances of missionary men hacking totem poles into firewood between grunts, as missionary’s daughters think.
It doesn’t matter and it’s all the same British empire,
But I still must push my point of view: you’re the provincial and I’m the smarty pants.

Of course I’m captive to your moods, and like Philip Lopate I try to gentle you out of them.
He says this is done out of laziness: “it saves me the trouble of having to initiate emotions on my own.”
In my bones I am a laconic Amishman avoiding conflict, building the peace through avoidance.
So I say I also liked the bulging suits made out of thrift store sweaters
and you smile and start to meet my eyes again
to rescue a perfect day from my heavy elbows.

The fat girls of Bremerton say loudly that it is against the Amish religion for Amish people to use soap.
We smile down at the floor between us
for no reason since these girls have no knowledge of anything other than their own cheap fatness.
I think Philip Lopate is right about the laziness of placation.
but sometimes your moods point to my own unapologetic thickness
my lack of graciousness and true humour.
I give you my shirt as we walk off the boat together into the shivering cold of the rest of our lives.

Andrew Wyeth. Aboriginal Art. Space Suit made of thrift store sweaters by Nick Cage. Seattle Ferry by Hillary H.


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