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OUTSIDER ART NEW POEM BY TODD SWIFT

Outsider Art

It's been what - decades? -
since she lifted that dress
in summer and desired herself
as if I was a mirror

in Darger's dishevelled room.
Her lithe innocence armed
with a drawn pistol
as she fingered danger

like an artist teaching herself
to make insistent actions
of a lonely hand not some
remote errors only

of eccentricity, also
achieved release; passionate
as any acolyte, showed me
the new work her brushstrokes

made, materials not yet dry.
I, the appreciative critic
of her rude education.
It's sad to reflect on moments

not so art-preserved; not stored
even dustily in homely attics
to be ignored; most incidents of sex
or pathos have no catalogue

or connoisseurs; static in time
are still left just where they happened
at first blush, never flow like art
forever outwards into an always now.

No one recalls her crouching
as she gazed down at her clitoris
and enjoyed a homemade bliss
of blossoming isolated chance,

her tennis shoes curling
as her feet inside curled as well;
her gasping, unrelenting, arched
against the rough wall, then floor,

baring her trimmed mound
for my focus, as if an icon
that made prayer happen
by its very appearance.

No one preserved those minutes
that gave more pleasure to us
than twenty-five years growing to them;
or twenty-five that drove us from them.

It's gone, her artistry, my awe;
the flaw is time's uncurated disarray
that has no theory to conserve
daring whimpers of touch, discovery

unless marbled in statuary,
rubbed in stone or etched to last.
The past is a sacked museum
looted by the lack of sympathy

or dedication in history's tedious medium,
which dates and signs nothing
unless a daring artist demands a stay
of execution and enforces imprature;

even forlorn Darger had his newspapers
to print murders of children for his
recollection; their little morbidities
his lit candles to remind, even collect

a sense of providence or value
in what is taken and ruined in the rush
of incidental undertakings of the day.
He decided to compose out of trash

and confusing desire, genders mixed
like colours, girls with their cocks
under threat of death, all blended
because loved and cared for, endlessly.

You can find those images if you want,
because someone wanted them
to be seen; they were placed
in the world, out of a realm

that the world cannot hold onto,
or ascertain - the imagined spaces
where what may happen gets displaced
by what merely does, unsparingly.

It took time to reassemble torture
into the virtue of a new domain;
and some demons' prayer-books
are written by misplaced angels this way.

So her perfected small abysm
of ecstatic rippling effects across
her sojourning body in that summer
remains wordless, without music

or imagery, only herself
in her spasms as she came
drew on me, for once and then again
always, a dream sense

of what shared, true good pain
young love-desire could be
in our offered, offering prime.
Her short cotton dress, yellow,

or blue, or cream, or pink,
is in some hip shop, or on a high shelf;
her hands who thinks what they shape now?
Only this poem adores that hour's mad show.



COPYRIGHT THE AUTHOR 2015


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summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
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of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
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