THE RED MODEL II
René Magritte, oil on canvas
On the calculous clay, two pennies
stare down a lone dime,
while a matchstick pretends to ignore
the cigarette it once kissed. Someday
the oak wall on which I lean
will warp and shed, splinter
by splinter, long since forgotten
by those who erected it. What is
the point of news, when in the end
all we are left with are scraps
that no one can decode?
I sigh, longing for streams
of stock tickers, Monday-morning trains.
O to escape the tyranny of inaction!
To unlace and take off my feet,
and run to the office bareshoe!
—from Rattle #24, Winter 2005
Tribute to Filipino Poets
José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes: “When I was a high school senior, my class would make weekly visits to a nearby public school to tutor a group of sixth-graders. Towards the end of the year, I decided to bring my students some poems. One girl innocently uttered one of the wisest things anyone has ever said about poetry: ‘Poetry is an encyclopedia.’”