Sunday, April 3, 2016

Untitled

(On seeing Rodney McMillian's "Untitled," in "Thirty Americans" at Cincinnati Art Museum)

That's the funk of 40,000 years,
right there,
every stinking moment
curled up in little bits of tar

ghosts after work
spreading from boots,
that exhaustion is the engine
of life

That's the fucked-up giant's
nasty petticoat,
the wife-beater on the floor,
lampshade off,
light like a baseball bat to the back of your head

Apartment complexes are carousels,
trees drip down into dreams,
that fountain of motor oil and
soft drinks,
sugar and poison,
grease-pencil R&B

Nervous numbers scratched close
to a telephone,
envelopes stacked, never opened,
that night we almost did it

Flares going off
like Jackson Pollock just does not give a shit
like Fred Astaire just puked
like Marcel Duchamp has the diabetes

And that smell, that bacon-gasoline
smell of hell
or plain old
night

We all get up and go,
nothing too interesting

A cozy haze the color of a dog,
clouds and pancakes,
pancakes and clouds,
the syrup all over the goddamn floor

Somebody got pissed, somebody always gets pissed

And then card games, Superbowls, toothaches, W-2s,  flat-lines, flunk-outs, birthday cards, car trouble, back flips.

This shit is untitled,
this thing here,
it's not much to go on,
but it is
everything we got.