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Renting Basquiat

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"Poïesis 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." (Wikipedia)

This is a regular series of poems on the topic of art. Kurt Eidsvig's column, Poïesis, which appeared in Volume 1 of Big Red & Shiny, brings a poetic twist to our conversation on art and culture. More of Kurt's poems can be found in our archives.

RENTING BASQUIAT

1.
There are the evenings I cannot close
one eye, but watch you as you taste
and then re-taste, devour insistence till
it’s spent like wishes: The exhales
you recollect. A t-shirt scrawl picked up,
balled up, and headed for the exit with,
a souvenir to be sure might prove
yourself alive.

It says: I had sex with Jean-Michel
and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.

Days later you revise yourself, again.
Black marker against the fabric.

2.
I had sex with Jean-Michel and all
I got was gonorrhea. You wear it
everywhere in Manhattan, share it
with those you’re closest to, the ones
who can really follow. Me?

I dream in pictures, you live your life
like t-shirt shops, each day a slogan
you forget until someone’s staring
at your boobs later in the afternoon.

In night, we’re a set of bedroom sculptures,
your shirt cast onto floors, my eyes are never
closing. You whisper in your dreams and my
words become so slight, it’s no wonder
you cannot hear.

I cannot bear the television distractions
as your skin sticks against these sheets,
reminds everyone there’s no clean laundry.
Tomorrows for me are image sets waiting
to find the words each of us reimagines,
gets up and tries to paint.

 

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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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