These are the exploits reduced to line & shade—
pigment prisons, alabaster integers,
the sentence of a criminal race.
Nothing on this wall can be sold or bought.
Some show wounds in red, white, & blue,
metapaintings history has loaned its name to,
hips & lips that challenge saintliness & sanity
with their knees that do not touch
& their breasts like bishops on a chess board.
There’ve been periods of flesh & bone
in which the breast unsheathed its sword
in acts of broken love & conscription,
times privates sold like nobody’s business,
moments when male beauty was etched in stone
& stood there like statues for gods to envy,
demagogues to drool.
There will be embarrassment,
bars & windows to contend with,
choices made as fig leaves for perfect storms.
Oil & stone may mark the limits of our lives.
Clay may show the flesh its path from mud.
But when the bomb becomes a dud,
protest to the wall be nailed
& there is left the rites of execution,
unbearable as false proportion
makes us lumber thick as thieves.
There, as curves fill up/flatten out,
as personality turns off & is called “God,”
there as heart, beat by age,
humiliated by emotion,
there, as arms go weak & legs misstep—
where once we fell up in love,
now we fail & fall to earth…
when heads forget where their bodies were—
there, we remain intact.
These walls hold words we write
to worlds that will not write to us.
It’s time to fight the fiends
who would be friends with color & with light.
It’s time the gloves come off.
It’s time the elbows in it are what we’re up to.
It’s time to be here now.
~ Adam Brodsky
It is easier to hear food than it is to eat music
through the window of Chagall’s cat
As I walk on a February afternoon
I dream as big as Adam’s eyes
and words weigh on my back
like suras I can’t altogether remember.
Youth is an open umbrella in the hoof of a goat
and adornment was born in the colors
of Mughal loving laid out on brocade
As night comes, stars pop out from
games of hide and seek
and one last time
the cat arches her back
before going away.
~ Heather Ann Schmidt