DELFT LIGHT

on a candy wrapper glittering in the road

 

Was it really different for Vermeer

To light his subjects so they appear

 

As cold electrons televise

Some silent movie’s ancient skies,

 

Like an aging actor’s silhouette

On a brand new HDTV set,

 

As if, like light, he knew

How to raise a ruckus on the avenue,

 

The way the artist’s naked stare

Finds a corollary in a pear,

 

A mirror of the day’s bright light

Rendering the day around it trite,

 

A tiny detail painted lush
By the summer’s stained-glass brush

 

That focuses the Jnetwork’s common lot

On this humble backroad spot,

 

The way our TV is dead space

Where the planet gathers in one place,

 

Revelling in our rapt attention

Like a news-addicted gentian,


When, nearing its cinematic star,

We discover it’s a candy bar,

 

An industrial facsimile

As seen, apparently, on TV,

 

Our couch potato gaze still fixed

On its fickle, shrink-wrapped stix,

 

Where the shining air takes root

In the director’s lucid fruit,

 

The sky’s reflected cathode rays

Bouncing off the fat free blaze

 

Of that dietetic solar clone

Where the prism of the world is shown,

 

Which, rather than a passing quirk,

Is the point of the entire work?

 

Written in the Café Luxembourg, Amsterdam
April 17, 2001 6:58 - 7:41 PM

 

NOTES ON DELFT LIGHT