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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. This is the first of a regular series of poems on the topic of art.


THE GALLERY THERE ON GREEN STREET
-after Brendan Murray at Axiom 11/19/2009

When there is nothing left to look at
you plan your twenty minutes for idling
in the trains. Recall how he invented
what you do, and of course introduced

these walls to silences before rattling
pictures from their frames. Get sick of light
and how it infiltrates everything, defines and then defies
the limits to observation: ears strained

at the rumble and the whoosh that wishes
take past the station stops to another colored line
sliced closer or farther from the seven blinking lights
at the top of the Prudential's sky.

I know there is a Rothko cast in blue and black
on the wall out there behind you, as in the morning
discovering yourselves again in each mirror of the
bedroom you take care with every strand of hair--

but then without all these eyes and ears demanding
you unravel words and sound and reemerge from sleep
or death or silence, with something we haven't
felt for beneath the skin and sheets yet.

And then you introduced the silence. And then
my mind skip-skipping down the tracks
retraced Jennifer Bartlett's Rhapsody permeated
and reclaimed on the panels surrounding everything. You

timed these breaths and dial twists. Of course
I saw Barnett Newman everywhere, that line
hovering, expanding. Grasp detached visuals, send
showers of plaster casts where widowed light

from windows looks back, scans the floor
and surfaces for a place to land. To announce
the completely finished definition of itself
and something else. To announce the almost

certain realization that everything has been done.
Everything has been done before. Everything
before us has been done, destroyed and reemployed,
pulled down and reconnected, plugged-in or resurrected,

killed and maimed dismembered before being caressed
and reclaimed by those long fingers. Fingertips and hands
twist-twisting at equations turned music-math strewn
numbers exploding at the speaker stands and careening

down the street. You missed your train, your
silence, the pause between passengers and the space
where everybody gasps and kisses a version of their
reflections. Sure, she was perfect for a love interest,

but the stillness of her profile remained pressed
against the blue light wall and then removed
itself into another room where strings are the only way
a person opens doors.

Play music on that light screen, like emails
that you sing out-loud before you press and regret
the send. Everything meaningful is shouted and then murmured
before following us to bed. Even if you get sick to death

of light demanding center stage, paint the background
of this soundscape black first, a certain blonde girl
catching dark curtains in her shoulders and eyes and smile
before bursting into entrances, the escalator exits

are a rumble in your heart below. Yes, paint the background
of all of this black like Dutch still-lifes where ornamental
oysters announce how wet and brush and thinking can make
a shell sharp and dangerous out of linen-stretched containment.

Later, as the oils unfold, and the train is a less and less dangerous
form of time, black will seep and stain every pore of orange
skin. Coming home, the furniture in your apartment is a scatter
of chess pieces in a game with Philip Marlowe, strobe light blinking

neon nostalgia for a partner who reworked shapes and patterns
into challenges, a sculpture of shadows. A sectional sofa
in that room could be both arrival and despair. Insert, insert
the silence here:

Later, she would explain folding chairs and the exhibition
removed and stored, just as groups of people often are
on their way to and from things. The light had changed my mind
and her's, the blue cast into circles, squares--something arbitrary

and uncertain. The trains came together and passed one another,
as number-filled schedules remind the signs of time, or rework skin
or breath or canvas with the subtle finger touches that know
everything beneath our bones is subtle and imperfect, these
gasping sounds of harmony.


All images are courtesy of the Non Event Flickr stream. Photo by Susanna Bolle.


 

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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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