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Beauty Is Never Whole: A Poem by Queen George

April 21, 2010

We are more than a single work

But twenty-six in any moment

Lined up side by side –
An entire exhibit

About the exhibit they say
“It is inconsistent,”
“I cannot comprehend why these line
run here and not there, or why
they run at all”
“It needs more yellow/red/darkness/trees – I wouldn’t
hang this on my wall.”

I know the sorts of things
People say at museums
When they aren’t paying attention
Really looking
And finding a way to
Understand the gaps between
The consistency of chaos
And things that do not
Seem to fit.

I could tell you a lot of things about myself, concrete things that you could hold in your hand.  But that would mean very little in terms of who I actually am.  So I’ll tell you this instead:

When I was twelve years old my greatest ambition was to marry a painter.  Not to be one myself, but to marry one.  Because I felt so fractured, existing in too many dimensions at once, I thought that a painter could solidify me, could show me a literal vision of who I was in graphite and oil.

Instead, I read Schrodinger and Einstein, learned to love the folds of time and space, to understand myself bending back upon myself, always becoming.  Now I only paint myself, blindfolded and upside-down.  And the work is never finished.  Still, I like to know the glimpses others get, when the light hits just so – like to know what I looked like in that one moment of existence.

Because in seconds the moment will be gone

And the picture will not matter.

I will bound off again

Never pausing long enough to hear the words

“It needs a little more red here”

“She is too light.  Too dark.”

“Why are these lines curved when they should be straight?”

I never wanted to be hung on your wall,

anyway.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2010 10:04 am

    I love those last two lines. Gorgeous.

  2. marybullstonecraft permalink*
    April 22, 2010 5:44 pm

    Really, really beautiful. And, interestingly, reminds me of the beginning lines of Deleuze and Guattari’s “A Thousand Plateaus”:

    Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as farthest away. We have assigned clever pseudonyms to prevent recognition. Why have we kept our own names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognizable in turn. To render imperceptible, not ourselves, but what makes us act, feel, and think. Also because it’s nice to talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, when everybody knows it’s only a manner of speaking. To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.

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