After Seeing Gerhard Richter Painting
Paintings are mortal enemies, says Richter
quoting Adorno, and poems too will kill you
if they roam unsupervised, untethered,
flying off along yon ecliptic with all they know,
know about you. Truth! Gad!
it’s better to stop all this you mutter once
in a while, April nights when the thought squeezes
like a rat through a sliver in the baseboards
in the house built of words, always only words
so circumscribed, bound to 24 marks and
one antipodal Hippocratic oath: first, do harm –
that’s how you know it’s a word, a real word.
Another thing Richter says at movie’s end,
a line the director knew to save for last,
to remind us why we’d paid and offer
permission (the world loves to
hate its artists): It’s fun.