December 8, 2012

Wendy Barker


      Anselm Kiefer, 1998,
      Mixed media on panel,
      Blanton Museum of Art

Splattered gravel, burned-out forests, residue

                                                    from forklifts, excavators, back hoes

          glued onto this panel and taking up

                                  what seems the whole wall so you can’t walk by,

                                                you’re sucked into a mammoth

3D sinkhole, staring at these clumped twigs

                          like abandoned camp fires, or what’s left

                                                        of flattened or fire-gutted houses,

            as if, with one spark, leaves, birds, lizards,

                                              anything that wiggled or fluttered was gone,

leaving only crumbled stone and dried out

                        splinters, as if you’re peering down from above the planet

        at ridges, fault lines, escarpments, canyons

                                              that resemble the land down your own street

gone to bulldozers, gutted, ripped

                                                      of root and vine, the rock bed under

                      the trees split into rubble

                                    to be scraped away before foundations are poured,

as if the ground hadn’t been foundation enough,

                                          but this huge piece is about what’s left after

                    everything’s been ground

                                                          down, after we’ve exploded it all,

taken ourselves out, and the only thing left

                                                      will be faint tracings of the stories

                of stars you used to look up to.

from Rattle #37, Summer 2012

Rattle Logo