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.
Once we hit the rash light To a draft of jasmine The sere of fawn brown hills And woods dying back We sense the remoteness Of objects we want to bring them near We want to climb and straddle them We fall in impossible unbearable love We are sensitive as cat’s whiskers We can almost hear a thumping bass line The clap of cymbals From an amphitheater under a bridge We feel The land’s disappointment in us We prefer to be close to water that moves We witness the sequestering of trees Onto barren reservations With nothing to sustain them except An uncanny ability to reduce the amount Of water they draw out of the ground During the invisible interim between Dream and dream’s loss We head for the crashing crests We are told to avoid superficial persons In the month of August We are urged to make the most of our regrets While we wag back and forth in our outfits Like fishes with our mouths sewn shut Our long-playing sadness has been trained To endure the official lies and restrictions Full tilt meannesses But we are the thickheads Let us alone let us play We are big on red and things that stick out Things that dangle and sometimes spin Or simply stand there Stoic but reassuring Disentangling our garble An armature risen quietly aloft over our heads Where before there was only neglect and fear And formlessness There are things that do not objectify Our being here but make it all the more imperative Not to wreck or run over things Not to go to pieces We are big on red and peace in our time We are short on deal or no deal Our old familiar loneliness is sometimes Broken up by a shovel of brazen redness Even if we were to suggest deeper problems Such as be aware of who is telling the story We are the ones keeping things alive We have invited all the kids to come When the leaves fan the evening We return to enviable Coolnesses Like lobsters we come to life at night
C. D. Wright was born and raised in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of more than a dozen books, most recently One With Others: a little book of her days, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize. She teaches at Brown University and lives outside of Providence.