Modern art. Canvas of miniscule stripes atop larger canvas of miniscule stripes. Just another painting hanging at the MOMA. Or is it? Upon closer inspection…
A poem that Borges would like! The artist, R.H. Quaytman we discover has coyly engaged verse from Jack Spicer into his paintings.
It starts, “The poem begins to mirror itself/”
And we as spectators see this to be true in the manner in which the poem is conveyed.
We stand there, drinking in the words, literally reading between the lines because isn’t that what we love about poetry? And we discover the poet singling himself out and wishing to be changed, but recognizing the fallacy of such a desire. And we are suddenly stopped in our tracks with the gravity of his words “Things desert him. I thought of you / as a butterfly tonight with clipped wings.” In one instant, we feel his abject loneliness. In one instant, his beloved close by but wishing to alight upon the air away from him. It is no accident that he too craves wings and avian form.
The lines become a cage we are peeking into. You never know when you’ll be arrested by word as art.