V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




We follow Frank Lloyd Wright’s rotunda
with our hands herringboned together,
the curving ramp of galleries like the cochlea
of the inner ear, and she kisses me
on the rounded bone behind the earlobe—
a structure whose name I don’t know—
before working our way through the crowd
of art-filled heads, their faces radiating
the blonde ale they drank at lunch
as they slur Kandinsky on their tongues, words
in lavender brushstrokes, conversations
trailing behind them like multi-colored scarves
which brush over our forearms and shoulders,
disconnected from their source—
mysterious, beautiful, fleeting.             

At the entrance to the Sound-and-Light exhibit,
we read the posterboard thoughts of the artist,
or maybe it’s a typed message from someone
who once talked with the artist, or maybe
they simply wrote what they thought the artist
might say, or think, telling us Remove Your Shoes
to feel the carpet’s texture, the floor’s vibrations
in decibels below the threshold of human hearing,
a No Speaking Zone, a place for wavelengths
of visible light, tonal harmonics reconciling
the Precambrian structures of the brain,
oscillating through the millennia to converse
with our bipedal awkward face-to-face
making of love, which is all she and I
can think of now, the unified theory
of color conjoined with sound,
and she squeezes my hand tight in her own
under the wire-hung letters of language,
which rotate above us in a perfectly
destroyed state, the letter C, the letter S,
each letter stretched, bent a little out of plane,
as if the invisible paper of language had been
peeled away so that now they drift
over us, freed from the word chair or staircase,
vibrations of sound gently lifting the alphabet
and lowering it the way a breeze might lift
the tips of her hair, my fingers guiding
the zipper in its channel, tooth by tooth,
the way it did last night, in the park, long after
closing time when the sprinklers switched on
and we didn’t stop—the killdeer singing, a siren
somewhere off in the distance, the sun itself
held at bay by the horizon, just long enough
to divot the soft lawn with her kneecaps
pressing down, shifting to the rocking of hips,
my own back given the imprint of earth
authored by the grass in its green vernacular,
muscles lifting, my thumbs at the iliac crest,
the smooth curve of her breast, the streetlamps
tapered like candles to backlight her silhouette
as we kissed the small quick fires from each other’s
mouths, cold water falling in a graceful arc
from the sprinkler heads positioned around us,
her hair matted and tangling with it— 
this is what I’m thinking about in the museum,
the skeletons of art hung around us, petrified,
staring through the hard lenses of framing and oil,
staring at us from their fossilized stations
in the past, in wonder, marveling at
these two lovers, here, each of us
fully given to the inexorable process
of death, and yet, here we are
walking among them—alive.

© by Brian Turner


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