Fourth of Five
Two Page Openings from
The Way We Live
by Burt Kimmelman  


Cutting board, knife, bread
crumbs in dawn light — she
stood and ate beside
the kitchen sink, then
got back into bed.


At a Willem de Kooning Show
with Michael Heller

Pace Gallery on Fifty-Seventh Street, New York City, May 2011

            Not a declaration which is truth
            But a thing
            Which is. It is the business of the poet
            "To suffer the things of the world
            And to speak them and himself out."

                        — George Oppen

Broad swirling brush strokes crossing
the canvas, their edges fade
in thinned-out paint and Mike talks
about how the bright yellow
leaks out of the light blue laid
on slightly thicker while I,
from over his shoulder, try

seeing what he sees — twisted
figures the colors make most
of all, what the artist saw
as his quandary, since what else
might have been the point? We drop
back onto the street and look
into the drizzle before

stepping on, the wild spring
among tall buildings that sound
the buses, trucks, taxicabs
bellying along the wet
swath of dark asphalt in their
commerce — not unlike, really,
"the business of the poet."


Click here to go to Next Opening

Return to Burt Kimmelman Survey

Return to Light and Dust Anthology