Friday, May 25, 2007

Dumpling Kaiser #5: Thinking About It Now

Years back, there was an old brick schoolhouse

a couple of miles from where I live.

When the suburb tore down the building

to make space for a more modern school

the demolition crew created

a full block of rubble—timbers, bricks,

shattered glass and big chunks of blackboard.

Even covered with dust the grey slate

stood out, dark, almost black, against bricks.

The bricks, covered with dust, were still red,

the blackboard, under the dust, still black.

When I walked through the rubble, I touched

a finger against a piece of slate.

Where my finger moved it pushed away

the light dust covering the dark slate.

Where teachers once had drawn with white chalk

my finger made a pattern of black

by pushing through demolition dust.

An artist might call it sgraffito

scratching, revealing what’s underneath.

The art world has a large lexicon

of terms for how an artist makes marks.

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