Andi Balise combined a half page of a short story, “Thanks Going Without Saying” by Liz Balise, with half a page of an essay by Klee, “On Modern Art”, from a book called Modern Artists on Art, 10 Unabridged Essays, edited by Robert L. Herbert. With some small edits and line-breaks comes this miracle of a poem:
Painting a Function Different
I peek out over the railing of reality’s magic
Beyond the porch-floor
Minerva hangs her wash
making the invisible visible
Eighty two and three quarters deaf
she doesn’t notice
But this is, in fact, reality
Has always been this way—
Bent and bird-like existence
Balanced on two twigs—always busy—
Her task, is the ******* of space
Cutting coupons, crushing aluminum cans, ironing
The three phenomena which I must....
Things no one notices—
climbing on the abstract surface of a picture
Switching the curtains
God! I wish from the infinity of space..she wouldn’t…!
It figures that—
Rusty, her cat, is weaving in fortune or misfortune
I try to fix them—
Her ankles now
And she curses at accidental quality
from the corner of her mouth
which has only one form
Clothespin or cigarette?
Long johns and animals and men in heaven
and bureau scarf and sheets—all, non-infinite deities
surround us translucent, contained
I decide what to get for her birthday—
We are good friends
through painting a function different
forgets her manners
and eats like a survivor—
Thanks going without saying.
Thank you to my friend, Minerva for those years we shared living by the river. And thanks, to my daughter, Andi, for seeing this poem in an academic assignment.
Art is what it is, imploring us to touch its experience.... It asks no approval. It seldom gives reasons.