Memories Suspended by Filaments
-in the voice of Joseph Cornell
The house is small, but it has room for dreams.
For birds, books, stamps, stars, marbles, butterflies,
balls, dolls, my brother Robert, maps, romance,
playing cards, lace, lobsters, small sticky hope.
Eyes down, I walk the streets of Manhattan,
eat pastries, sweet, stale, talk to pigeons, find
orphaned desires in gutters, in dime stores,
in second-hand shops with dusty windows.
I discover, gather, magpie away.
My treasures hibernate waiting, sleeping
in basement shelf rows, labeled by heartbeats
slowed to a drip. When my dossiers have lived
together long enough, I take them out,
let them speak, cherish them in my boxes,
where parrots talk of sunsets, and clay pipes
float and fill with a summer of bubbles.
Behind glass, my birds and my women sing,
locked into universes I create,
where lovers are dancers, princesses, queens,
secrets detained in shining glass bottles.
I sing the juene fille Lauren Bacall,
slender Botticelli, silent in blue,
construct a pink palace with sapphire stars.
I mediate history for the Prince
of the Medici, give him a compass
so he finds and he follows true love. Oh,
Bebe Marie, you are so beautiful,
pale pink, hidden among silvery twigs.
My poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, Hanging Loose, Poetry East, and Poetry New Zealand, among many others, and are included in four anthologies. I have published two books, Embers on the Stairs (FutureCycle Press),and Fugitive Pigments (Moon Tide Press.) Two more books, No Longer at this Address (Tebot Bach) and Flour, Water, Salt (FutureCycle Press) are forthcoming.
10/8/2015 07:16:44 pm
This poem is hauntingly beautiful.
10/9/2015 12:23:17 am
Ruth, I enjoyed reading this poem so much, imagining the words in his voice. This work has a date of 1940, which makes his wanderings all the more interesting. That first line just grabbed my attention: "The house is small, but it has room for dreams." You've pulled us in with that title, but that first line tells me there are so many dreams out there waiting to be had or to be remembered for all artists, for all people. I'm so glad you had this published here in Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing.
9/1/2016 04:25:38 pm
Ruth, an amazing poem. I love the way you make art out of art! We, the reader, are walking the streets of Manhattan with you!
9/1/2016 04:59:42 pm
So very lovely, Ruth. And so deserving of notice. 77 likes is an astonishing number of viewers (imho).
9/1/2016 08:17:50 pm
Thanks, Mary and Poppy!
9/2/2016 03:11:37 am
Storing of memorabilia; after my own heart. If you'd like to see any of my poetry, and us to compare notes, let me know
9/3/2016 07:19:25 am
I enjoyed the imagery and the flow of your poem. Congrats on a loverly work.
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