Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Urban renewal

It wasn’t where we wanted to live
but you have to put down roots to thrive.
Daily we bore the shock of forbearance—
our own and our neighbors’: the noise, the smell!
Be fruitful! We tried. Soil of lead arsenate,
cadmium. We added our detritus,
peel and core: redemption. And now
our mineral prison blooms in this,
the year of our departure: now at last
the berries fruit in blue abundance.
Which goes to show our acts are not our own;
what we make does not belong to us.
At best we fade softly as timothy,
and leave our harvest to the next people.



Film

Outlaws in the outback

Great westerns have always wrestled with moral issues. John Ford’s The Searchers tackles racism; Howard Hawks’s Red River, loyalty; Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, honor; Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, revenge; Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, redemption.
Poetry

Climbing the pasture, I lowered my head

Through lashes,
saw the weave of the crocus
blowing backwards, and in this motion
recognized my life,
the full sadness of existence,
but wanted it still:
the earth and its sugars, these days
like a bridge I could cross.
Poetry

Perspective

In medieval paintings, the cobbler stood just inches high
        beside the saints, who rose like water towers,
until Brunelleschi thought up single point perspective,

and proved it, lines receding to a speck on the horizon.
        Once people saw it, they couldn’t forget:
the statues and churches kneeling to just one lover.

How thrilling! To stand at the commanding point.
         Each of us at the center! It’s the great
myth of the personal. Dutiful art teachers swung

the myth in buckets to the next teachers
        until generations later, it bears
the heft of Truth. That is, it did, until the night

I drove the death car, when the sky slit open
        to admit two headlights, double moons
drilling larger and larger holes through darkness

as they bore their terrible gift, two thousand pounds
         of metal toward me, and suddenly I saw the flaw
in Brunelleschi’s myth of the personal. Which of us

can bear to hold the whole world on his lap?
         I swerved then, or something swerved me,
spinning the steel off center so the car did not kill me.

Instead, I floated briefly, picking the lock of the improbable,
        feeling like a patron suspended
in a medieval painting—that one wearing

his everyday red hat and blue cloak,
        keeping his face businesslike,
trying not to say AhHa as he strides up the golden sky.



















Poetry

The Sistine Chapel

On the scaffold twenty meters up
tracing her head in the damp plaster,
Michelangelo knows it’s going to take
more than a breath to make Adam drop
his can’t-be-bothered pose, too bored
to stand even at God’s charged arrival,
held aloft by a crew of hard-working cherubs
who struggle to maintain lift long enough
for contact to occur: a critical maneuver
of the right hand complicated by the added
weight of Eve on whom His left arm rests.
Drops of paint freckle his face as he wonders
how many priests will take offense
but concludes that only skin to skin will do.
Without it, Adam’s forever grounded.
God’s touch is first. Hers is next.