The Opening by Philip Schultz


For Connie Fox and William King


Everyone arrives later than everyone else,

wheezing, coughing, taller than expected,

their posture anthropological in nature,

the gossip, turning clockwise, is mostly

about the origins of tribal remembrances,

merged desires. Modest, the art doesn't seem

to mind being the center only of its own attention.

Death remains in fashion, while delight appears

to be making a comeback. Art, the conversation

claims, is:  "an assault on time,"  "a currency

of doubt and opportunity," " a cease-fire. "

Well, we know one thing, it keeps on coming,

uninvited, its mouth filled with intuition,

such lovely feathers. Ah, the white fluorescent walls,

the landscapes grateful to have survived their own stillness.

Everyone seems to want something, dogma,

truth, a context, a smidgen of kindness,

politics is out of the question, but passion,

passion twists the ephemeral into perception,

urges the phenomenal to confront the merely mysterious.

You know what I mean - all that endless standing,

stepping back, squinting and sighing, doing

and undoing, seeking, the middle torn out of its

own beginning, the unfinished pleading for forgiveness,

the fiery binge and hoist of the impossible ingested,

flattened to nothing, the honed figure finally walking

out the door, alone under the night's vast umbrella,

the hat complaining to the rectangle about its lack

of grammar, the hilarious despair of the square,

the aluminum shiver longing for the simplicity of

the lowly nut and bolt, canvas stretched across infinity,

the disappointments, the unbearable happiness,

beckoning, beckoning for the feast to finally begin.

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Philip Schultz


2005-2008 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas