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Animals

<i>Tiger King</i>. Directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin. Netflix, 2020. 8 episodes

The Art of Watching

Early in January, a few days into the New Year, I sat with four students on the ninth floor of a Twenty-Third Street Manhattan building. I have two dominant memories of our week together: The first is of the forbearance with which they withstood my raging head cold; the places they found to look while I filled tissue after tissue, stuffing various pills, sprays, and lozenges into my face, inflicting on them a six-day wrath that should have been mine alone. Grumpy and overmedicated, midweek I told a colleague, because she asked, that I felt like a jungle cat was sitting on my face.

Mothers

Women used to wean their babies
By painting their breasts black.
Hurricane clouds are black.
The Earth is weaning us.

The Garden

Tear along the perforation and unfold. Hold a light source up to the backside of the underwater scene to reveal creatures hiding in the depths. 

Goat


Capricorn, hair, bray, and hoof, eater of tin, biter,
bitter, sister, wilder than tame, not quite
gamey as deer, lower cousin to the caribou,
giving rise to tears and the satyr.

State

your name for purposes of identification

how can I when it’s failed

better a border made of water

harder to cross

each seed is different

like each tongue

how many heads

was the right question to ask

Bottleglass

go ahead tread on me
see if I care I am already
unhuggable as a cactus
and too big to fit on any
lap keep your excuses
short or better yet keep
them to yourself any

The New World

Do I have to talk about fear? 
So much has already been said 
about hidden spiders, compass needles
lodged in the soft of an eye. 

Marc Burckhardt’s Notes to Self

Recently, painter Marc Burckhardt has been in a deep “visual conversation” with literature—specifically, with Petrarch’s Triumphs, a sequence of poems from the Italian Renaissance in which Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Eternity each overcomes the other. Burckhardt first came across Triumphs nearly a year ago, while working on a series based on Dante’s Inferno. As he often does with literary works, he looked into their visual history, and in doing so found “a deep well of imagery—stuff I recognized through a kind of peripheral appreciation.” Since then, working between studios in Austin, Texas, and Bremen, Germany, he’s has been studying, sketching, crumpling sketches, starting over, and taking notes for a series of allegorical paintings that reflect his personal connection to Petrarch’s themes, to be included in an October show at Gallery Shoal Creek, in Austin, Texas.

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