Thursday, October 20, 2011

Missed Kay Ryan

I was going to hear Kay Ryan at the MFA last night.  But the heavy, cold rain held me back; I just wanted to go home and get in bed with the cats.  Here is a poem of hers based on a museum experience.

Outsider Art
by Kay Ryan

Most of it’s too dreary
or too cherry red
If it’s a chair, it’s
covered with things
the savior said
or should have said—
dense admonishments
in nail polish
too small to be read.
If it’s a picture,
the frame is either
burnt matches glued together
or a regular frame painted over
to extend the picture. There never
seems to be a surface equal
to the needs of these people.
Their purpose wraps
around the backs of things
and under arms;
they gouge and hatch
and glue on charms
till likable materials—
apple crates and canning funnels—
lose their rural ease. We are not
pleased the way we thought
we would be pleased.

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