SPOTLIGHT: OBJECTS WE KNOW WE DON’T DESERVE: poems on dutch art by Timothy Tarkelly

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VERMEER WATCHES ME SLEEP

Is this the right kind of ordinary?
Will this room fill the right cups,
wholesome inspiration in powdered dollops,
will it find itself stretched in long, dark fields of oil,
nailed glossy in a white room?

Will people describe me as supple?
This really is how I do it, with my arm
just like this, over my head, irreverent
stakes of artificial light living
as painful pinstripes across my body, my eyes.
I find basketball shorts
to be the most comfortable things to sleep in,
so I adjust my blanket
to cover any logos, as not to confuse
the historian, whistling his tune
of studied grace, only stopping to say things like,
“In his time, to be overweight
was a sign of status, wealth, a wise form of beauty.”
Most nights, sleep escapes me.



DE STIER BY PAULUS POTTER

Meager horns
They match nothing

I’ve seen skies so gray, they rob you of comfort
And its venial memory

Clenched flanks
And auburn strength, these are the morals of the countryman

I’ve stood — well, am standing —
To be herded, to lock egos and snort and stomp and tense

But of all places to strut my stiff hide
Why such a shadeless place

Imagine choosing a tree at half potential
A confusing choir of breath


PORTRAIT OF A GIRL DRESSED IN BLUE
BY JOHANNES CONELISZ VERSPRONK

How pleasant, glowing, peaches and cream. Bristles may be the most kittenish of liars, bumping and brushing, libertine stalks tied at the hips, dancing far too much noise into quiet spaces. I’m sorry, but I picture all these women and their children as being so brittle and muted, so Guelders, so solemn, tied to their stoves with strings of pearls, their skin losing color altogether, leeching weightlessness from the stale air, living as sweated onions in their safe havens, pale and full of lineal promise, pale and hopefully full.




THE MONDRIAN COLLECTION BY YVES SAINT LAUREN

God!!!!!! sloped shoulders, and the flat stomachs of 1966
let’s play hopscotch, let the eyes, exuberantly double dutch and scream. we’ve seen the end, the pinnacle of physical fluency
we won



SCENES OF EVERYDAY LIFE

Fine, simp for the Romans and their quest for heaven on Earth, history that smacks the spectator in seven dolorous strokes.

But have you ever just sighed before? The kind that cleaves corset strings, balloons the chest then gorges out of satisfaction, faith alone, a job most certainly well done.

A perfect smear of peanut butter, a nothing-but-net kind of relief, a bean bag flung cleanly through the hole in the ramp that backyard summer evening, a child, pink and well dressed, looking just like your wife two seconds before it dribbles pudding, chocolate smears on the lace and satin, those are ideal moments. Ones who’ve held eternity by its cracked spine, moments that most certainly died because of and for our sins.

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