Bookstore Poem #469. Evidence of ashes (or Trash art)

Inspired by the opening to chapter one of Lidia Yuknavitch’s novel The Book of Joan: ‘Burning is an art.’…

Anything you can make art out of
I can turn into an ordinary object
so mundane as to be invisible
amidst the rest of the furnishings
or so dull and lifeless
that it requires two teams of pallbearers
to remove it from the premises

There are three photographs in the series:
— the matches, grouped together, before they’ve been struck
— the same matches, their blackened tips extending halfway down their sticks
— ashes smudged where the matches once were
They occupy a fraction
of a sector
on a hard drive
perhaps never again to see the light of day

The summary read like a post-game recap
metaphors, action verbs, and instant jargon
taking the place of ‘regular’ English
When the boardroom interview finished
the analyst hung himself from the wall mount with his necktie

David Byrne’s face is interrupted
by yellow divider lines
but refuses to burst into flame
The house was demolished
to make way for townhouses
that look the same as all other townhouses

The council thinks that’s art on the streets
with its sparse lines and tasteful emptiness
but it’s all form and formlessness
nothing there to bruise the heart
or dance with ecstasy

They should really go out to the dumpster
tomorrow is pickup day

(26 January 2019)


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