20210103

John Levy


Still Life with a Pear


It has all the skin it was born into,
the rain, and all the dew that pushed

out into a shape, tapering up, and made
the curves speak to eyes and memory’s reserves

though much is forgotten over years.
It clears the hurdles, a racer from childhood’s

racket and quiet, one particular
shape from a riot of forms seen and dreamed, touched and

too far out of reach. A thing, to
be bought, held, tasted, smelled, remembered, revered.

I paint a goat looking up at a
yellow pear, its rectangular pupil providing

more peripheral vision than ours.
My painting is wider than it is tall.



Widow on Our Road


Taking out the garbage this morning, says he was lucky,
died in a minute. Had always said he'd want to be unplugged
from any machine. But he never had to be plugged in.

Now she has been throwing out all the stuff he kept, so
much of it. She doesn't even bother to say what it was, only
that he stacked it up and it is taking days. Says

her life is upsidedown. Apologizes for coming out onto our
dirt road in a bathrobe.



God, there are all


these people You have never heard of. It’s
amazing, it’s not even as if they’re hidden:

they’re on the ground, under the flying birds,
clouds, handful after handful of stars, above Your

ants, Your worms, Your dandelions, Your oil,
Your termites, Your basalt, Your layers down to the

center of the earth. These people go un-

noticed, not forgotten because never
seen or remembered by You. But they live and dream,

love, believe in blessings nevertheless.
God, in one of the interviews with You published

long ago, You answered every question
with silence. What mattered most was the length of Your

silence. It takes patience and faith to learn
in silence, silence. It’s the only thing You say.



Hebrew


I'm looking, illiterate, at a poem in Hebrew
and thinking about the shape of the letters. Something

serious, sober, squarish, and then
it's read from right to left. Its curving letters

have a bit of clunk. And there's
the space inside the letters, and around them, that's

measured, sure, architectural.
I don't remember ever before

looking at the shapes of these letters
as I am today, almost as if it is my Canadian friend

Dave Read's asemic writing, meant to be meaningless
and aesthetic, combining the engineer with the artist to create

what? A mood and pleasure, mystery
with pattern and repetition, the celebration

of line itself, how it goes up and down and over,
curves, stretches, stops.



Horseshit


It has been on the side of the desert road for weeks.
It remains news for our terrier mix every day

and his nose reads the headlines, the sentences, ponders
etymologies, particularities, rhymes and

off-rhymes, the rest. My illiterate nose further up
may as well be in outer space. If our dog could speak

he would mock the word horseshit plus all its synonyms,
then discourse on the word universe. I'd listen, rapt. 


Raining in Tucson


Rain fills the hollow toys in the front yard of former friends. That was years ago, when they weren't former friends. That rain has been distributed now, by processes that existed long before the toys and our lives, distributed far beyond Tucson, beyond Arizona. Maybe some of the rainwater in the plastic dump truck, for instance, has joined the ocean off the coast of Madagascar, near Sambava. A guess. I can still see the faded yellow plastic of the dump truck's bed, near the dull red of the cab. That toy is surely landfill now. Buried deep, it will never again be something a raindrop hits first as it lands.



John Levy lives in Tucson.
 
 
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