Against Chagall’s blue dark chrysanthemums extravagant as Chinese New Year’s lions: heads flecked with rust, petals pushing the frame. I love their shaggy forcefulness, bronze-green leaves a hammered sculpture. Against illumined order, movement and repose, an angel in flight is neither warrior nor vision, so curved by the artist’s brush that he’s harmless.
One winter on O’Hara street I read in a yellow brick hospital absorbing nothing. About the mind’s corridors, its inward silence, I lived without flowers or consequence. The cut of a streetside bloom obliterates nothing. I meant alleviates. In that borough of snowfall red moons under my nails.
Why My Poems Refuse Daylight
Pinpricks on water, celluloid glare too paradisical on the retina. It’s not natural for my poems to roll up on a butter-gold vista
& idle without a single cumulus. There’s got to be a violin: tension like a knife-thrower weighing its target the split- second before it hits
clear above the eyes. What’s there to contemplate if everything’s explainable? I like it when a vision’s so weird it grows fur. If you want immaculate
syntax, it won’t happen, but I can serve glamour with the best of them. No gimcrack.
My poems hunt shadow in the folds: Madame X dusted in lavender powder. Persimmons stacked in a blue bowl. Everything in art
is gesture. I can’t save you from whatever’s next, but if you listen for the sound a house makes when the locks fall
this is for you, with your stung heart.
-- Karen Rigby is the author of Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press). Her poems have been published in Australian Book Review, The London Magazine, Bennington Review, The Spectacle, Grain, and other journals. A 2007 National Endowment for the Arts fellow in poetry, she lives in Arizona.