“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol,
just look at my films and paintings and me.
There’s nothing behind it. That’s all there is.”
It is all surface, isn’t it, the thin blue silk of the sky, an oak leaf’s chlorophyll
production line, the unblinking eye of the pond? When I was as shallow
as an undergraduate could possibly be, I peeled off from a field trip
to Soho galleries to visit The Factory; my friend and I
nearly identical in our veneers: ironed hair, wheat jeans, black
sleeveless shells, our unwavering scorn of the outside world . . . .
It was dazzling, every surface painted silver: the walls, ceilings,
tables, chairs, bathroom fixtures, like walking into a roll
of aluminum foil. And Andy—thin, spectral, white blond hair,
black sunglasses, nearly wordless. Mostly, he just was, the zen
of non-being, the art of perfect detachment. And we were mute,
too, inarticulate in our youth. We knew what it was we didn’t
want, but not what we did.
Now, all these years and lives later, the twistings and turnings
of many roads— some macadam, some asphalt, some stone—
I can’t remember her name, just how straight her hair was,
how it hung down her back like a bolt of cloth.
In the untidy closet of my heart, I think about what we put on,
fashion, facade, how many layers we need between our skin
and the rest of the world.
This poem was previously published in Barbara Crooker's book, Line Dance (Word Poetry).
Barbara Crooker is the author of nine books of poetry; Les Fauves is the most recent. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Commonwealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, The Poetry of Presence and Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. www.barbaracrooker.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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