Half the painting is
sky, sometimes more;
just what the critic
Clement Greenberg wished for.
Placid sky and languid clouds;
mouse turd gray shrouds.
Classical breezes only
no Tiepolo skies
to die for –
just plain sky that would
no baroque pomposity.
Nothing happening here
this ant farm of detail.
– David Headley
She holds her face up to him
and he leans against the wall
staring back, around them the eddies
and swirl of the others, the shouts
and calls between classes,
she creates an idea that this
is the only world, the one between them:
his earnestness of desire is her proof of love;
this intensity holds them rooted past
the late bell and the hallway quickly empties:
Jeffrey glides by, a quick smile,
somehow no girlfriend but the girls
all watch, and his scrawny shape
transforms with an audience.
Everyday he flexes and poses, his body
impossibly sculpted, a rushing stream
of a body, he pokes and teases the girls
with this body, and they read in his shoulders
and stomach the soliloquy of sex
it promises them.
Then he is sprawled in a desk,
the metal and plastic covered in ink declarations
stop and make shapes with his smooth skin
and he is writing quickly, attempting to keep up,
he is alone then, furiously so sometimes,
and the girls cautiously examine him,
his lax form contains poetry
they would not dare utter.
– Andrew Decker
A Whole World
She leaned forward everyday
right before the bell rang,
A world to see, she was pregnant
by seventeen, the usual story
and the loyal boyfriend
loyal for awhile.
Metallic yellow curls, an afternoon
in a beauty parlor in the Heights,
other girls placing their hands
on her belly. She still fawns
over the boyfriend in photographs
she once took delight in, he looks out
cardboard tough, do-rag and turntables,
behind him the unadorned geometry
of somebody’s apartment.
She’s a collector. She unfolds
and shows what is hers: the photographs,
the notes and text messages. She shows
her friends these last exchanges
from the phone she snuck
through the metal detectors on her way
into school this morning.
– Andrew Decker