I read a quote by art critic Robert Hughes comparing painters: There is more death in a Gustave Courbet portrait of a trout than Rubens could get in a whole Crucifixion…
Then I heard a song by an artist we saw in concert. Who spun magic, jewelled webs we fell into after chasing each other through twilight circumstance. Twilight and traffic.
The labyrinth ruled by Janus one level below.
The shadows jousting on the street didn’t remind me of your fingertips, or your January dancing, or your honeyed cake.
I didn’t make that joke in the elevator.
Carried, like some tragic Pieta, into the stream. The playing of a wooden flute sounding in the reeds. My hands flat against your skin. The temperature slipping.
Forbidden music within your temple as quiet and still as polished stones. Awash in the fragrance of whispered moments. As shiny as a silver bracelet, a tunnel, a hook.
I’m not even sure I heard anything.
Did such music ever exist.
I’ve never wondered how my fine shoes, sewn of ancient parchment & soft as a silk purse, got so wet.
Nor have I contemplated Gustave Courbet’s
Or the absence of all that is not
While gazing into the eye of the fish,
A future sun.
Credits for original images: The Trout by Gustave Courbet, 1873. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958, based on the play by Tennessee Williams starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Skyscraper and Tunnels by Italian Futurist painter Fortunato Depero, 1930. Pieta by Michelangelo.
I do not own the original images or claim copyright. I have created new images for non-commercial purposes of commentary under Fair Use provisions of copyright law.