is a quality of attention,
the way color says how
light feels: yellow for the
aerosol of happiness, black
for the zero of what isn't;
the way light, lined up right,
can cut through steel. Anything
is art if the mind's flawed right:
how soup feels being stirred,
how silence, broken open just so,
releases its essence and graces
the mind as a mint leaf in the air.
It's those who can't understand and
are dumbfounded by the obvious,
who thrive on dissonance and
subverting the ordinary into the
extraordinary who end up being
artists. What good is that, you ask?
No practical use as far as I can see.
In fact, Archimedes could've been
bragging about art's uselessness when
he said "Give me a long enough lever,
a place to stand, and I will lift the earth."
JACK MYERS is the author/editor of 17 books of and about poetry and the 2003-04 Poet Laureate of Texas. Myers has won numerous awards including the 1987 National Poetry Series, selected by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney; the Natalie Ornish Poetry Award from the Texas Institute of Letters (twice); the SMU Author's Award (twice); and two Poetry Fellowships from the NEA. He is the past Vice President of AWP, former field faculty member in Vermont College's MFA program, and current Professor of English at Southern Methodist University. In 2002 he was a featured writer in the new "Poetry in Motion" program; and in 2001 his collection, The Glowing River: New and Selected Poems was selected as "Best Literary Book" for the Barnes & Noble Violet Crown Award; and his latest poetry collection, Routine Heaven, won the 2007 Texas Review Press Award. He is currently the featured "Honorary Guest" of the upcoming issue of the Oak Bend Review.
This poem was recommended to us by Dr. Hugh Tribbey.