Yesterday The Art Show came to town
and I was there, you may be sure,
first in through those rotating doors.
Abstract Expressionists. A few
by Jackson Pollock, one or two
from Rothko's brush - and quite a rush
from Wassily Kandinsky. He
it was who set these thoughts in train.
His over-riding aim,
to free the canvas of all vestiges,
all images, connecting it
to our external world - except,
he had this fear of being thought
the decorator who turned out
a tie or two, a carpet at his best.
And so he'd introduce
an echo, hidden image, a suggestion
of an object, person, something known,
to lead the viewer to the spirit world.
And thus it was it set me thinking:
why should poetry not do the same?
Purple reclines on grey I wrote -
not on an envelope, but on
the exhibition notes. Then dreams
drop. Damage done to end a love's
vulgarity. Undone. The starving cold
inglorious is like hot. Ergo ex-sexual.
That to the point of non-existence.
Falsetto false alarms swing empty in
the cannonade of whispers twinned
with certain brilliance. One is or one is not,
an emphasis on truth massaging influence
but speaks out of forgotten shape and
longs for passion. Consternation breaks
the antler hanging in the way of progress
where sounds of pain suggest the name
of he who is above the mind of change.
You may imagine what a masterpiece
I thought I had! And not just that,
groundbreaking poetry, I thought.
A whole new style of verse to set
the world alight. But going home, plumb
tight against the midnight to express
the lasting westward in my head,
and looking out across the concrete
happenstance, I realised
how everywhere around me
were gross sentences from which
no image could be drawn
that might refer to any world I knew
or could imagine in my wildest
darkness: January is Elation - one
inscribed upon a T-shirt. Love rolls,
another. Then on a bill board underneath
a naked blonde: Hug or Fix
Frustrating it is to write a masterpiece -
and one so avant-garde at that -
and then to hear the words: It's all
been done before, dear boy!!
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