May 23, 2007

Vollard Fails Caliban

(Vollard was an agent who furnished supplies to remote artists)

“Monsieur Vollard,” the burning French
primitive beached in a sun’s bleached heat
writes in boldly stroked ink. “Send me
more paint!” He pleads for tubes of white,
carmine lake, emerald green and ochres of red,
yellow and de Ru. He explains “I must work;
my vision will devour paint, but not the terre
verte you so blindly sent. Vollard replies
with color-filled crates. Gauguin creates.

“Monsieur Vollard,” the abandoned son
of Sycorax writes. “Send me more words!”
What can I do with these copular verbs,
this bare-framed language of my obedience
and my curse? I am a sterile, loveless
thing of darkness, only once embraced. Send
me the words with which I can express
the language of sleep and island-given dreams.
Then my art will drown all books. The sentence
of my birth will end. Vollard replies
with word-filled crates. Caliban cracks the spine
of each volume of his new OED and consumes
each word, but the gap between his dreams
            and pen remains unabridged.

—Alan Berecka

Posted by dwaber at May 23, 2007 12:14 PM