Friday, July 29, 2011

poem of the day 07.29.11

this is not a call

i get astounded
watching documentaries
or reading books about paris
in the first quarter
of the 20th century
sit amazed at the idea
of picasso and braque
throwing each other cubist fastballs
at le bateau-lavoir
apollinaire writing his last poems
with his war bandages on
juan gris walking
the streets of montmartre
sick modigliani at the birth of the decade
mixing the paint and the booze
cocteau and max jacob
gertrude stein salons
hemingway living an adjective-less life
all of those kids at the ballets russes
fitzgerald on the left bank
looking for a fountain to fall into
andre breton looking for
a new kind of art
le dome
la rotonde
café select
josephine baker dancing
at the theatre des champs-eylsees
sartre and de beauvior comparing lovers
at les deux magots
good old langston hughes
fresh off the s.s. malone
waiting tables in jazz clubs
satie and stravinsky
and henry miller stuck in america
waiting his turn
i get astounded by paris
in the early twentieth century
dancers and musicians
painters and poets
swapping sweat and art
all of those artists enraging audiences
and changing the world
i get so wrapped up in that time
that i feel a part of it
then i wake
and i get depressed
because though it is true that
there have been artistic movements
since then
some very famous
none were
as magical as that time
swirling between two wars
i realize that i missed the whole boat
there are probably
art movements now
insignificant, incestuous clusters
that spark and just as quickly flame out
nothing left to raise an audience
to its feet with anger and shock
nothing there
to move the world
maybe it’s the artists’ fault
maybe it’s just humanity has grown
beyond the capacity to be moved
we’ve become scattered
filtered through too many channels
plugged in
given too much bandwidth
we’ve simply become bored
by the simple spectacle
our attention spans too small

or, as they say,
some things just had
their time and place.

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