All I Need to Know: An Essay on Beauty
I understand his excellent bottles;
The funnel, upside down. Their only task,
He said, was to enable greater concentration.
The painter’s table is an argument--
Evident in the way he stacks his stuff.
Sentences, too, if their commas are well-placed.
Or with ellipses prescribed by Dischell
Who one day found art buried in his first name.
A good one is architectonic, like the
Curve of bird feather and hollow bone.
Unlike an urn, the idea can’t be actual, held.
Its contents can’t be smelled or tasted, only
Contemplated. Let’s call it a conceptual lake
Wide and unashamed to have its surface broken.
We can’t help but jump in. Kick, backstroke.
Fingertips lift the droplets that fall from
Overhead and, if the mouth opens without
Choking, a person will be refreshed.
I’m on the hunt for the entrance. Friedrich’s
Five-walled room in the German clearing.
The ruin. An intersection. A movement,
As in people crossing. Or a musical phrase
Whose metered limitation presses on the heart.
The one that Denton wrote his brief history about.
(What is that thing that sat on Henry’s heart?
What is the ache of the guy who somehow
dreamed that up?). The principle triggers
something unawares especially
When driving with the radio on. It clicks
Like an arrow shot or— more mild --
When moving around the viewfinder’s frame
And something urges the finger down. It
Startles as in the case of Bossellaar’s elegance
At the moment that she lets her stevedore’s whistle loose.
Look for it in the awful potential of a cloud. Gold leaf,
Not yet lifted from its sheet. Or Chaple wrapping
Monkfish in parchment. My friend, like
Quentin Crisp, doesn’t trust essentials
And blames it on the Greeks who were
“Mad about the body,” but couldn’t get
A pimple right for trying and decided
To deal instead with what they could get from stone.
We’re blindsided by our thirst for revelation
And if this list hasn’t done much of that yet,
The problem might be—as Lux has many times
Said—not with length but lack of interest.
So, let’s see what others can suggest:
A historian surmised, “The Good,
Truth, exquisite, the cat's meow.” The sculptor
Mused, “Gives more energy than it takes
(and that goes for people, too).” The scientist
Loves the brain’s penchant for the golden mean
But blames culture for Gaga’s meat-made dress.
The critic—naturally—included Guernica
And all it represents. The anthropologist said,
Simply, “indigenous.” A wordlessness,
As after tamping down the sod plug over
The hole where the ashes went and then
The family’s silent placement on that spot
Of their hands. Perhaps it can be found
In how you will actually feel at that
split second finish of the race.
The only one that matters. A sigh
Closed up in its opening.
For those caught in the whole postmodern
Brouhaha the question is passé.
The pursuit co-opted. Synonymous
With vacancy. A slippery fact disguised
By ideology. Well, tell that to the old gal
Gussied up for the picnic in July,
A little too much rouge dripped from her cheek.
“Jeez, she laughed, it’s hotter than an old
Maid’s dream.” I mean, that’s beautiful
And, by God, the truth, though which part
Is hard to say. Anyone will tell you, you could
Have used the sidewalk to fry an egg that day.