March 10, 2007

The Art of Collage in Cracked Italian

This little tile,
a reject from it makers
(one of many
from generations of Rampinis)
transcends borders and time
with its cooked sand and color
almost living and grouted
into the jaundiced skin
and coagulated blood
of an Italian family’s
dead ancestors.

This particular square
of hand-painted tile
cheaply brought its
right angling of yellow,
green, brown, orange and blue
back from Radda, Italy
(a happy place
despite its sound)
to cast “Il Volpe—The Fox”
stirring in front of a Cypress tree,
painted perhaps out of scale
but almost perfect
for all creatures
to see beyond.

The animal’s brown pose
and memories of Italy
warm slowly with
tea brewing the green taste
of earth’s surface on this tile
cracked and cooling
until it seems to taste
its gaze in yours.

“The fox knows many things,
the hedgehog
knows one big thing”

the swift worker
may have thought
as he exiled the flawed tile
just past the furnace
to land on the last table
marked even in English,
and “No Return.”

Broken heart dancer
from mold to fired moment,
these ceramic words
are really all of me
cooked, coming apart
and together again,
broken beautifully
to take stock
that’s me
and think myself
more of a hedgehog
while knowing foxes
(like collage)
import better art.

—Will Hochman
from Freer (Pecan Grove Press 2006)

Posted by dwaber at March 10, 2007 01:32 PM