Two Poems

 

Disappearing

“Tinguely’s contribution [Hommage á New York] was a self-stripping machine that kept going from one side of the
stage to the other shedding metal parts.” — Calvin Tomkins, Off the Wall: Robert Rauschenberg and the Art World
of Our Time (Picador, 2005).

You can start with a very very long poem, too long,
and start getting rid of words until
you have a shorter poem,
very short, soon
over.

Criticism

“[At the Académie Julian, in Paris] the teaching, in the form of perfunctory criticism once a week, was hardly
helpful, especially to Rauschenberg, who didn’t understand a word of French.” — Calvin Tomkins, Off the Wall:
Robert Rauschenberg and the Art World of Our Time (Picador, 2005).

That’s the kind of criticism he likes!
“Le la, von somme, blah blah, monsieur.”
Yes, he agrees, you’re absolutely right.
He nods his head, he looks thoughtful.
“Chanson, a la mode, de ve le non!”
He’ll remember that for next time. He shows
that he is listening by squinting his eyes.
“Croissant, je vous Pierre de St. Exupery!”
He nods again, smiles, he is going to
keep on doing it just the way he’s been doing it.