Sometimes a really strong poem hits you with truth unexpectedly in the gut, giving you a Eureka moment as you read. Who thinks of art that way? Out of the book, out of the page, out of the museum, the canvass, the clay, into your heart, the heart you don’t know was there, except you really knew all along.
Mary Meriam is a poet who does this magic thing, her poetry showing you this inexpressible truth that is always beyond words and yet comes to you right square in them. And this poem is about how the path to truth and beauty and art, on its highest level, must pass through pain, rejection, loss, before being found.
I’ll Call Him Art
Art is undone. His chair’s askew. His eyes,
his eyes are locked with mine. His look is raw,
mascara running, caught by small-town law,
the bible belt, bewildered parents’ sighs.
Art is a man-child boy-girl compromise,
sitting between his farmer maw and paw,
here in the sheriff’s office, Satan’s claw.
Art holds the Word of God, holds back his cries.
I’m helpless, Art, to save you, where we are.
I try to say all this with one quick glance
before I go. Let’s both go, shed the scar
of twisted stares. Let’s cut and run. Let’s dance.
You’ll tell me all about it in the car.
Coyote-howl away the circumstance.
Her book, Conjuring My Leafy Muse, from which this is taken, can be found here: http://marymeriam.blogspot.com/2013/06/conjuring-my-leafy-muse.html