I take part—as lakes support
our treading in them—and I possess
even the choice that’s made
for me. PLAY
the open field to sketches a street,
forward city around them
fell: a line of awnings,
brick and brown,
garbage flaking where you don’t see,
then you see.
I take to it, what isn’t mine:
I watch its breath.
Its men (two men) dressed as cops.
They enter the museum
after midnight. I want to say I’m three.
is titled on the Sea of Galilee.
I’m late to this art,
that book pile behind me
so much catches up
I’ll never get in place. Too far
afield to find against,
or between. I can tell the time
they caught Whitey Bulger
passes from the paintings
returned does not come.
Speculations settle into
books, film. Against
circles, circles raise
marginal as this F.B.I., and this
I.R.A. Ted Kennedy dead,
and a painting cut is
rolled, unrolled: so the wrong ones
can’t find it, so can’t get saved—
Saint Mark’s remains, smuggled
under pork and cabbage,
a Venetian feast—or rather, the heist
to beat. Providence’s Federal Hill
holds out no mystery
here is a mystery.
Cities on hills. You find a thing of light
in your hand not peaceful—
The Concert, 1658-1660.
On airplanes, in hospitals
the oxygen masks descend into
our hands. We catch their straps
around a path that won’t
complete. I’m at a buzzer,
a finger in the inch, half
an inch, there.
I know the nails on my toes,
my teeth, and all the skin
in between. It is me—
unlike anything I’ve read.
There’s the part we know:
two cops buzz and are
let in, they approach the guard
station, they ask the other guard
to come downstairs. They act
like cops, threatening.
We can assume they were afraid,
the guards as well,
but we know it doesn’t matter.
Taped and bound in
the basement, it doesn’t matter.
That they left no evidence.
That the art can’t sell,
its ruined flakes unfold.
A belilaced cellar hole closes
like a thunderclap—
a dent in Holland—one
turn of gunpowder set on
gunpowder, and then not at all:
A View of Delft—
staggers with white trees—After
the Explosion. This is
Vermeer joins the guild,
then an incompleteness
nowhere particular. Its mist
struck constant like debt.
Like thunderclap. Like out of all
his view too much,
this, edging back,
thins under the scene.
Turbo comes into the room
as we catch the fringe of
what he’s moved to
another subject, sorts
a gangster in Hartford with the bay
of an auto shop, cooking
on Franklin Avenue, the South End
is fringe enough.
What’s dealt as recovery, amnesty
is a check paid out
across a low-rent office park, strip-
mall without stores,
where not enough accumulates again
to meet you on the front steps
with how many days in that
shirt, the blood taste
over your lip—beyond your shoulders:
posts, a set of lawn furniture,
neighbors’ porches, and the next
strewn outward like
a country. Take the book pile
around my bed, the screens
left open, light in the laundry
room, garage light:
out from the focus the focus
recedes. Let’s make everything
two Rembrandts, or a Vermeer
with two paintings hung
beside the open harpsichord, the lid
decorated, painted, I don’t know
the man’s face from the lowered
eyes of his companions.
We don’t assume it’s more than
trivia, good trivia—as the cracks
work in before that acid
feeling, walking ten miles
the sun too pavement to be dangerous,
sought for more than these
Caravaggios in the Atheneum:
Hartford’s loan from Rome
given for the Wadsworth returning
a stolen painting, nothing more
than a summer weekday, walked in
half for water, then black
blast of light—strange and tall before
some death of Christ—the cake
breaks off down the middle of our
back, shoulders rotate out
or feet lifting from it’s repeated, a long
time between when we notice
and when we notice. I’ve shed again,
but my preferences steal right
around me: cool there. “You have to keep
looking”—says the art detective,
his body falling apart
on the platform, a person
out of a book I read faded into a film
I saw, both of them are lost:
we can watch him keep
after all the paintings;
the paintings aren’t even the art
I want to catch up to
where I started from. I take a long way
from lying under
the hammock, a yellow walkman—
these waters and watering place—
with wind off a beach,
into the woods: a muscle
that isn’t there isn’t there to
delight. Inside the house, they’re
casting the bell in Andrei Rublev
on a television with a curve,
crackling speakers. I take apart
myself, and find a box of cords
loosely tied together, then cards,
each assigned a value:
a simple watercolor tree, bare
on a hill, where there aren’t hills,
a fence with shadows we can
follow beyond confusion.