Why didn’t I think of that?
Lately I’ve been traveling all over Europe reviewing art at Delicious Line:
Peter Zumthor: Dear to Me, Kunsthaus Bregenz (Austria)
The Dutch in Paris 1789-1914, Van Gogh Museum (the Netherlands)
In my last artist newsletter I mentioned that after our successful second Poetry Brothel Berlin production, I was invited to perform with Poetry Brothel London‘s Wilde-themed West End production coming up on Nov. 18. That is a true fact and that show will rock. You should go if you can.
But I will not in fact be there, because that is tomorrow and I am here now. Elsewhere. Seeing beautiful things and writing about them. Sometimes.
Speaking of declarations and their limits, this poem has been rattling around in my head all season as the #MeToo meme infects public discourse and I continue to avoid Patreon, Instagram, and normal usages of social media to tell people what the fuck I’m doing. I can’t get behind it, but it’s a moment. So I don’t have to get behind it to be swimming in it along with everyone else.
By Mary Oliver, from Dream Work
That winter it seemed the city
was always burning—night after night
the flames leaped, the ladders pitched forward.
Scorched but alive, the homeless wailed
as they ran for the cold streets.
That winter my mind had turned around,
shedding, like leaves, its bolts of information—
drilling down, through history,
toward my motionless heart.
Those days I was willing, but frightened.
What I mean is, I wanted to live my life
but I didn’t want to do what I had to do
to go on, which was: to go back.
All winter the fires kept burning,
the smoke swirled, the flames grew hotter.
I began to curse, to stumble and choke.
Everything, solemnly, drove me toward it—
the crying out, that’s so hard to do.
Then over my head the red timbers floated,
my feet were slippers of fire, my voice
crashed at the truth, my fists
smashed at the flames to find the door—
wicked and sad, mortal and bearable,
it fell open forever as I burned.