792 shopping days until 22.214.171.124.0 4 Ahau 3 K’ank’in.
I feel like I’ve been sitting inside a Douanier Rousseau painting all day waiting for my harlequin outfit to come back from the drycleaners.
Henri Rousseau Une Soirée au Carnaval, 1886
I’ve spent some time looking at Rousseau’s paintings, as the poem below, written in 1990, testifies, but today I felt I was looking out of one of his canvasses. Don’t know why.
MY LOVE AS SCENE BY DOUANIER ROUSSEAU
You stand so serene and regal with your umbrella
amid the green knives of my hothouse jungle.
The feral eye of a pale and hungry sun
sups red from my palette and flushes the heat
until the umbrella withers to a stick
your dress flakes off in strips of white ash
and the jungle strops its edges
against the frozen block of the wind.
You step forward naked and black
beside a sizzle of Amazon waters
your eyes two emeralds on jeweler’s velvet:
Raise that pipe to your lips
lost in the dark of the moon
and play the tune that ensorcelled me
and my anacondas to that eternal instant.
The song goes on so long like a desert highway
it makes you sleepy. Your eyelids sliver
your eyes down to white sickles.
Make your pillow on my thigh, sleepyhead.
With my brush I’ll stroke out the prairie folds
of your hair into a river around the dun banks
of your cheek, neck, and brow; I’ll sketch
a faint grimace on the face of the full moon
and make the sandhills swallow those windmills
keeping rusty time.
My gypsy is so pretty in her new dress
cut from a bolt of rainbows-
Let her sleep my lion, go chase
the tatters of the day.
Look, the lute and the jug have fallen asleep
dreaming of her fingers.
I gather your duskiness to myself
like a cloak of warm rain
until soaked through to the skin
with negritude; tie a swatch
of your rainbow around my waist;
take up the jug as it melts into a musette
and play the song I’ve learned:
a hymn to a peaceable kingdom.
You wake on the red plush of the couch,
shrug aside the raveled blanket of your hair;
your breasts and belly radiant
as pink suns. Vines snake out
of the wallpaper and Persian rug,
over the parquet floor, sprouting
stalks of bananas, birds of paradise,
twining into trees, with oranges
like little planets: The jungle blooms
toward you, full of lotus and animal eyes.
Kinkajou and Macaque cling to fork of branch.
The lions have taken the day off
from the Museum of Natural History .
The elephant lifts its trunk,
remembering what I can’t forget.
When the music stops, you tell me:
“Don’t forget turn out the moon.”