In Play and Four Women

New York

Splendid Playground, the Guggenheim exhibit of post-war Japanese art from the Gutai group that closes May 8th, includes TANAKA Atsuko’s “Electric Dress”, 1956, blending painting, sculpture, and performance.

In Gutai Art, the human spirit and matter shake

hands with each other while keeping their distance.

Matter never compromises itself with the spirit;

the spirit never dominates matter. When matter

remains intact and exposes its characteristics, it

starts telling a story and even cries out.


“Gutai Art Manifesto,” 1956

In the Trance

A pretty anarchist said to me
It’s not that a great love happens
What happened became your great love

Her echo had an ancient glow & so
proved buoyant for my little craft

I left the world & felt a world

The bee loading its gloves with powder
The albatross wanting one thing from the sea

Nothing can wreck our boat said she

& when the water felt the glacier
The future held a present tense
The present held a future without cease

— Brenda Hillman. Practical Water. 2009. also in American Poet. Vol. 44, Spring 2013


note, passed to superman

sweet jesus superman,
if i had seen you
dressed in your blue suit
i would have known you.
maybe that choirboy clark
can stand around
listening to stories
but not you, not with
metropolis to save
and every crook in town
filthy with kryptonite.
lord, man of steel
i understand the cape,
the leggings, the whole
ball of wax.
you can trust me,
there is no planet stranger
than the one i’m from.

— Lucille Clifton, The Book of Light, 1993 also in Seriously Funny. University of Georgia Press. 2010


Last Words, Some Words

And in my remaining time
let me explain that my
wobbly tender yolk
hardens, if left in boiling
water past three minutes,
that pride and carelessness
are defects not defenses,
that everything I need
to tell you languishes
within these final lines:
trust the gentle flow of
universal intelligence —
and please buy my book.

Sarah Sarai, Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Face, 2013. See link for her 2009 The Future is Happy.


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