Printed from WriteWords -

Broken Photographs, Dutch Art and Time Machines

by  seanfarragher

Posted: Monday, March 14, 2005
Word Count: 410
Summary: Nostalgia: Hudson River, Jacob Van Ruisdael and Theresa (1963) [Nostalgia: From Greek nostos, a return home]
Related Works: Fountain of Youth • Hurrah, Hooray, Huzzah • Parnassus • Tsunami 12/26/2004 • 

Broken Photographs, Dutch Art and Time Machines

1 Prelude to Dutch Landscape

My Hudson River meandered for
fifty thousand years when the basin
covered by glacier set down as a flat ocean
of some past frozen air; nothing remained
as a whole idol when the sun breached dam
a foul, twisted flood, a moment of faulty tide,
swept debris of every chronology out of horizon.
Nothing we knew as history was certain.

Terror opened perspective to muzzled faith;
suddenly we were stolen from the stars
that could not match singular charts.

2. Theresa 1963

I long for the wet skin beside my eyes to close
when she squats simply on the edge of my limbs
showing the boat of her cleft as I fiddle with it.
April season slips into the shape of blackbirds--
these beasts are impatient witness to my fetish.
I am hot as I fondle that sigh and carry alive
that skeleton cross the flood to Van Ruisdael --
his painting was warm circle of slipping skies,
screaming clouds and mercy was forsaken
by the violence of some unmeasured past tense.

3. Jacob Van Ruisdael

When I covered my past in broken photographs
image lines grew in a fury of collage as settlement
of busted time mixed with once in a while borders.
I live on that invisible sea shore. I call my names
and they respond and shaped with a clean witness
I write down the events, historical strings and I am
not content to just stay on the margin. I do not rest.
I mix in historical lies as I trample what began well.

Remember the art of death. Nothing less will broil
down the summer cliffs off-white as a spectacular
motion that follows the contours of limp trees.
Every outline opens past windows to cartoon
of wheat fields by Jacob Ruisdael and lost summers
one stormy day that became a window for a man
in New York. He stepped into that time spattered
story book, and rushing with his pen broke lines
descending down into clipped phrase where Alice
in Wonderland grew into a statue of Zeus
and all the gods applaud that righteous conceit.

Disorder is the child of what could never restore
again when the frozen sea and the tired river marry.

All this nature is a return to human content.
It is the memory of salt, mud and the excrement
we must employ to satisfy art and how it began.