Friday, April 29, 2011

21 of 30

After "Vertumnis" by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

the world is crawling with faces,
ruined gunny sacks,
fat mice full of suet,
gnaw lips in impassive flour sacks,
and their sorrow frowns out
Arcimboldo stacks library books,
fish and roast chickens,
fruit and weeds into heads,
makes hair of fire, of thistles

before clocks, and fish, before breton
before this modern cleverness

we carve eyes out of gourds,
stretch faces over our own,
plastic skulls and greasepaint
and pretend not to notice
the onion of faces below the ones we choose
arcimboldo sees the whole world grimace
laughing and shouting, all the dead singing,
the paint brush's austrian moustache,
the powdered face of the canvas,
eats plate after plate of nightmare

the occult king, that collector of alchemists
of Brahe and Keplar, that cabinet of curiosities,
that doomed king of prophets
with wheat and apples bursting from his head

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