On the occasion of Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field, SFMOMA curator of public programs Frank Smigiel and poet and playwright Kevin Killian co-organized a small chapbook of poetry, beautifully hand-produced by Andrew Kenower and Lara Durback. We are posting selections from FIELD WORK on Open Space throughout the fall.
Iowa House, Summer 2013
C. S. GISCOMBE
Put up in Iowa City and up from having dreamt
of being very high—in the air—over Seattle, as though
I were dead and looking down but seeing only King Street station and,
nearby, the sprawl of Safeco Field where the Mariners play and where, in
memory, looms the figure (though not in the dream) in lights of “a Negro repeatedly
swinging a baseball bat,” though the dream had to do
with its own teetering height over two landmarks, that riddle, and
not Elliott Bay or wide Puget Sound (no water
in the dream) or even fabulous Alaska Way from which
the ferries depart: instead—the spire on King Street, practically an awl beneath me,
and the graduations of the baseball field.
Who has not been, who—among
you—could not have been, in some sense, “on
trail”? Proximate, part of a similarly imperfect triangle? (The two
of them—stadium, train station—meaning
something different from one another; no water to
the dream, and no bridge either.)
At the foot of the Iowa House though was a river
and bridges and—also in memory—the fact
of my father “summering” in Iowa City in 1942 or 1943, of his
having met then both Jewish guys and white guys, he told me sixty
years later, at the university.
(For a time, toward the tail end
of the twentieth century, I lived in Seattle
“above” Ravenna Park, and can remember that city,
easily, because of that.)
After reading di Suvero’s Dreambook, July 2013.
C. S. Giscombe’s poetry books are Prairie Style, Giscome Road, Here, etc.; his prose book is Into and Out of Dislocation. His recognitions include the 2010 Stephen Henderson Award, an American Book Award (for Prairie Style), and the Carl Sandburg Prize (for Giscome Road). He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a long-distance cyclist.