The Yellow-Room Moment
In that glittering yellow room,
cramped and narrow as a kitchen,
no pencils allowed, notebooks,
no emotions or insouciance
or benign sexual stirrings, I wandered
beatific as a cloud, having signed
my teaching contract, another part-time gig,
students sleeping heavy-headed on gum-plastered,
graffitied desks. Lightheaded with a jolt
of je ne sais quoi, I reached
into my coat pocket, pulled out a moldering white
gum cube, popped it inside my mouth
and savored it, lint and a rich dark dust
from my pocket matter bedecking it.
When I wandered into the exhibit,
my heart pulsed furious, intractable,
under the rhythm of my chewing.
A moment can alter everything
and that moment of perambulation
shifted my perspective on planets,
wormholes, dying stars:
how was I to know, in that modest yellow room,
that Picasso awaited me, his dark eyes illuminated
in the pocked moon of his visage;
that Kathe Kollwitz floated, tense-faced, lips quivering,
glaring with intensity or some upswelling of an empathy
for me, I thoughtfor me!
urging me to draw, to write, to paint,
before my nights extended and I became the soft
dead dust cluttering another pocket.