by Robert Hass
To make layers,
As if they were a steadiness of days:
It snowed; I did errands at a desk;
A white flurry out the window thickening; my tongue
Tasted of the glue on envelopes.
On this day sunlight on red brick, bare trees,
Nothing stirring in the icy air.
On this day a blur of color moving at the gym
Where the heat from bodies
Meets the watery, cold surface of the glass.
Made love, made curry, talked on the phone
To friends, the one whose brother died
Was crying and thinking alternately,
Like someone falling down and getting up
And running and falling and getting up.
The object of this poem is not to annihila
To not annih
The object of this poem is to report a theft,
In progress, of everything
That is not these words
And their disposition on the page.
The object o f this poem is to report a theft,
In progre ss of everything that exists
That is not th ese words
And their d isposition on the page.
The object of his poe is t repor a theft
In rogres f ever hing at xists
Th is no ese w rds
And their disp sit on o the pag
To score, to scar, to smear, to streak,
To smudge, to blur, to gouge, to scrape.
“Action painting,” i.e.,
The painter gets to behave like time.
The typo would be “paining.”
Or to render time and stand outside
The horizontal rush of it, for a moment
To have the sensation of standing outside
The greenish rush of it.
Some vertical gesture then, the way that anger
Or desire can rip a life apart,
Some wound of color.
Last updated November 29, 2022