Jami Macarty

The docent had a red square
which she handed to me (the viewer), which
I placed in my mouth
& which soothed my throat, a room that is small
when I (the viewer) can't say
I love the painter, a living celebrity in my heart.
Viewing is construct.
Viewing is a place of meaning made into pathos.
The only wish made is the one impossible to grant: He (the painter)
wishes I didn't love him (this painter, this painting).
He masters simultaneously brushstrokes of arrival & departure.
The impact becomes sadness, duration a tease
& I identify with the clock, time passing
on its (clock's) face. He (the painter) gets
satisfaction from attenuation, he wants
a more distant relationship. I (the viewer) am so uncertain, I
can't look away can't let go.
This (painting) is the red square: implausibly red, impossibly square.
The docent keeps me (the viewer) a suitable distance.
Viewing has small hands inside me.
Viewing is pre-text the size of want. The purpose of two
(painter & viewer, artist & lover) is to retain reversibility, reciprocity.
Space tempts he (the painter) won't change
space mocks he won't space says he won't.
Complicity, then, is the real subject.
What I (the viewer) will remember best:
the quality of his (painter's) fear.





“Gallery” in the petrie dish: I'm a little bit perverse, and I just hate doing the thing that's the most obvious. I wrote this poem in public with people sitting all around me. Maybe the setting is interesting in relationship to the content, which one might think of as private. I wrote the poem with a stolen pen on an appropriated piece of paper. The present elements wormed their way in, some in obvious ways, some obscure. I could say: I was listening...I am not trying to protect the name of the innocent; I can't remember the name of the innocent. Lateness approached. I didn't have anything but a Halls throat lozenge. All of the elements present—But that's just the superficial stuff. Most of the poems I write are leading me toward a knowledge of life that is utterly mysterious to me. Maybe it's a middle-class hang-up, but I prefer the abstract concept of incoherence in the face of (great) feeling to beautiful, full sentences that convey little emotion. The parentheticals after indefinite and personal pronouns began as notes to specify what I thought I meant, and also, as a way to converse with the poem. The poem hooked them in an apparent, necessary, lesser dose. The poem is more literal than metaphoric; the lozenge is a lozenge and the painting. My forthright aim: For nothing to "become" something else. One can always hope...