Gravity and Center
Henri Cole, American born 1956
from Blackbird and Wolf, 2008
I’m sorry I cannot say I love you when you say
you love me. The words, like moist fingers,
One of 19 intaglio prints of his own handprints; trial proof, 1998.
Jasper Johns, American born 1930. Private collection loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2021/22
appear before me full of promise but then run away
to a narrow black room that is always dark,
where they are silent, elegant, like antique gold,
devouring the thing I feel. I want the force
of attraction to crush the force of repulsion
and my inner and outer worlds to pierce
The Impossibe, III, 1946, bronze.
Maria Martins, 1894-1973, Brazilian, MOMA, NY
one another, like a horse whipped by a man.
I don’t want words to sever me from reality.
I don’t want to need them. I want nothing
to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,
or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,
Offerings at a street shrine, Ahmedabad, India, 2010
the sound of water poured in a bowl.