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POIESIS

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By KURT COLE EIDSVIG

PoIesis is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek term ποιέω, which means "to make". This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Neither technical production nor creation in the romantic sense, poietic work reconciles thought with matter and time, and man with the world.

This column presents the poetry of Kurt Eidsvig, in juxtaposition to the dialogue around art and culture also featured at Big RED & Shiny.


UNDULATE
-After Jim Lambie at the MFA Boston

1. (black & white & color)

You wore the wall
curves and intersections
connecting handprint,
footprint—meandering walk
and staring—your arms and legs
and hair, that hair
belonged to the ceiling and the sky.

I sit in colored chairs. I wait.
I am right-side-up and upside-
down. I watch you
from the wall.

Everyone is somewhere in the city tonight.

2. (perspective)

With the right dress, the moments between
the lines measure slats on cool park benches
where secrets sound like premonitions, the shallow
flight of high-rises stare down longingly
at the streets below.

3. (line)

You’re the girl
driving in circles
down on Summer Street.

Several stories stretch
beneath your tires, etched
against the asphalt

below cracked-open
windows. You catch
my attention

with the screech
of steering fluid
clumped in engine arteries,

while you wheel
your car and etch
tar imagery from memory.

Worn with swirls and loops
and lines, the signature
of your persistence is sewn

into the snow. You never
stop searching
for a space.

4. (space)
.
Or this: You wore the wall
as if the space between two
Fridays might fit inside brown
eyes. The space between eyelashes,
the space on walls becomes the work
itself: The wall becomes your dress—your
wearing—the weave of cross-
stitched plaster gasps at the way
city squeezes, expands, and plans
its trip around and around, and then again
around you.

5. (light)

The museum walls remove themselves
from innuendo. The air is dark and cold outside.
I wonder at your scarf and jacket, the lights
that scan above and then around you. The walls
become sidewalk streets, staircases, and thin
wooden floorboards. Your clothes are the foundation
for something removed and built upon. Your breathing
now, is the center of a city. A flicker
between the branches, a shiver and then
a sigh. Lean over and turn the lamp off. Retrace
your path again with fingertips;
over and over again.


RSVP: Jim Lambie.

"RSVP: Jim Lambie" was on view November 10, 2007 through December 13, 2009 in the Lower Galleria of the MFA, Boston.

All images are courtesy of the artist and MFA, Boston.


 

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About Author

Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist, poet, and writer. He has taught courses in Art History and Writing for UMASS/Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the University of Montana. His work has earned awards from organizations like the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital.

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