to Andrew Wyeth
Christina. It is only straw by straw
that the world can be put together
and only so can it be unravelled again.
A house crumbling onto a windswept field.
Urine trickling onto the dust-clad floor.
Eyes that keep on looking into darkness
only to see, day in day out,
the scorned and the scorn.
He, liking the abnormal,
sits in your dining room, laughing.
Straggly hair and slops.
Every day now
there will be ever more straw
up against this house, until one day
I will return here and find nothing.
Not even the wind in the curtains.
Not even sorrow.
Not even you, Christina.
Villa No. 24
Now summer is gone
And might never have been.
In the sunshine it’s warm.
But there has to be more.
– Arseniy Tarkovsky
These days I keep on pacing
the empty corridors and empty rooms of an empty house
that once teemed with life. But if you asked me
how long I have been here or with whom, I wouldn’t know;
I wouldn’t even know if I’m still in this world or some other.
Memories peel off from the walls like paint
no longer able to resist time’s incessant damp. Sometimes in desperation,
I thumb through diaries and look for names.
Joseph, Sigmund, Nicolae…? I can’t remember.
But surely there must have been someone here
who tried to cure his malady of barren dispositions,
someone who strolled ever so importantly
up and down the hill on Main Street.
No longer. Ceilings fall in,
rain conquers all
and the subconscious trickles
through the roof of the mind,
leaking into the reality around us
where a fin de siecle is also a fin d’un idée, d’ un rêve.
It is no wonder
that where there was once Speranza
there is now only a “do not enter” sign,
and a bar around the corner
where no visitors will dare to stick around.
Sometimes even hopes come true
as decay brings blissful calm —
it grows and grows until it covers the Earth
like all-exalting undergrowth
A Portrait of a City
What was it there
a line a shadow
a scattered thumbprint
water freezing on a gull-grey pier
an almost voiceless
echo of a rhythm
memories passing out onto the sea
a subtle spur
a hum that wouldn’t change its sorrow
breakers hanging up like washed-out keels
images beguiled into unease
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