Sunday, July 31, 2011

Almost Manhattan

You are riding a tram at the Newark, New Jersey airport. You are not supposed to be here. This was not in the travel brochure you had flipped through in your head, while enjoying the complimentary beverage and ice cubes aboard your Continental airbus. You are tired, trying to hold it together, but growing a little desperate. Your connecting flight was cancelled. No one explains why. You have joined a growing swell of weary travelers, who waited for the tram with you, frowning, squinting, dragging their carry-on behind them. You fought them at the ticket counter, fought them back with sticks, so you could get boarding passes for your family on the next flight out in the morning. You fought them at the phone kiosk for a hotel room. Now these same people are riding with you above the airport on little tracks. The tram jostles you but you are stone-faced. You will not let these people see any hint of weakness. For your next battle is coming and it will be a knock-down, drag-out fight over hotel shuttles. Then, all of a sudden, you turn your head and see the lights of New York City!  Manhattan against the night sky. You hear Gershwin. She's a beauty, all lit up and beckoning. Come on, she's saying, get on over here. I'm right here --so close!---what are you waiting for? And oh how you want to do it. You  could catch a train into Manhattan and stay up all night, just walking around. You could do that very thing.

Sigh. Just a few hours earlier, and you might have.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Van Gogh When No One's Looking

The day will come, my friend, when art will no longer be kept in square cages. It will weave seamlessly through various points of interest in the home. It will pop up with the toast, and sit at our feet with the dog. Frames will seem a severe convention of the past. A contrivance to show the straight edges of walls. How we like to get things level!  Walk down a suburban street and when you hear the pinging of a hammer in the front room, stop. Someone's hanging a new print to match their couch. "Is it level? Is it level?", they ask. Perhaps they should be asking, "Why am I living in a rectangle box, surrounded by squares? Why not circles and triangles? Spirals and ellipses? They could ponder the white space inside the frame. Does it give the art room to breathe? Or hold it in place? Art is a wild animal, you know, that will one day devour you whole. Don't kid yourself, that you've tamed it. Somewhere sits a woman, reading her copy of House Beautiful, and while her back is turned, the painting over the mantel, creeps that much closer to bursting out of its frame.    

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Box Fan

Well hell's here and a'knockin'
The devil wants to dance and he won't take no
so let's head down to the hardware store
they got a big ol' box fan on a shiny display
bright colored streamers blowing out of it
all the fresh-spun air a body can crave

hang-tongued dragging busking for dust
livin' like rags but sweatin' like kings
cool brains is a luxury we can't afford
so let's head down to the hardware store

we can stick our faces close to the blade
catch that axial-flow on the back of our necks
the smell of sawdust is a good, dry thing
when it's a faint backdrop to the airplane hum
of a high-speed motor turning the gears
that send the streamers flying
straight into your hair
kneeling in a holy cold corner
before the box fan display
of the hardware store
in July

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I don't want to learn to read the signals, I just like the swooping and flailing and waving. Get those freak flags flying, yes!