Crossing the Bight

1998

If Cimabue and Giotto painted what they knew

and a third surveyed today believe in angels

they could sit here in economy and stare,

 

searching this patch of space, floating

outside my window, violent perturbations

with no optical effects or visible cause.

 

Is this what art aspires to,

psychic encounters with the unknown,

making the insubstantial visible?

 

Or, seeking explanations, why is there sometimes

nothing rather than something?

Or, revealing the struggle of working one’s material.

 

It’s cold enough outside for heaven

Nimbus waft like jellyfish, the sea is blue

in clear air turbulence.

 

Below is sanctuary for the Great White, turquoise

lassoed by a white slash of deserted beach, fluffy

pancake shadows squat over dried pans and black earth.

 

Salt is eating into the wheat-belt in eddies and soaks,

traumas stream through each frame in the battle

between light and dull ignorance, ineptitude and greed.

 

I return to my book, a couple of years older,

but in better health than Basho,

though triglycerides roam my arteries.

 

He walked, borrowed a horse

and boat and worked hard at his pilgrimage

I thought I loved his journey.

 

I sit in judgement at thirty-three thousand feet

furiously burning up my carbon credits,

writing on paper made in China