Notes & a poem after a visit to a museum

1

A room full of collected curiosities: masks, sculptures, folkloric and religious art, designs simple, colors bright, symbolic in nature—all elements carried into new work, Le Carre’s Metamorphosis exhibit at North Miami’s MOCA:

 

a wall of “memory boxes,” hanging light boxes, time capsules, symmetrically placed children’s trinkets and plastic gems and Caribbean-inspired print-outs–all immortalized in resin

 

(my own memory boxes? stamps, pens, old shopping lists, to do lists, receipts, bookmarks, basically anything found at the end of a life cycle of a favorite purse, all remnants of expired tasks and mundane responsibilities);

 

fantastical flying “sugar boats” in sparkling white fondant, flying or sailing, suspended from ceiling. (his obsession about the symbolism and narrative of boats, that old time harbinger of culture from the Old World to the New);

 

large horned totem heads crowned with plastic flowers on European-styled pedestals;

 

enormous soucouyants (hybrid witches in Caribbean folklore) assembled from printouts of early cell structure drawings—the portraits as large as circular tables viewed through the lens of a powerful microscope;

 

just the right amount of bling in all the right places, it became a satisfying, glimmering homage to the Caribbean, and in particular, Haitian, civilization.

 

 

2

In thick black frames, busy white etchings on plexiglass, behind it electric blue light.

 

Le Carre’s series of illustrations based on novel by Carpentier, The Kingdom of This World.

 

Metamorphosis: A sugar mill worker elevated to a god, a wild boar, a mosquito.

 

A condensed history of Haiti: palaces & slaves, mutilation & uprisings, until another new order is born.

 

Even in the form of a water-bird,

no escape.

 

3

Tiger Cutout

 

I’m walking

this concrete pavement

I call home

 

Neon hues from the motel

buzz in the solid August heat

like mosquitos in my ear

 

This is my first life.  In the next

I promise

to come in another form,

maybe the wild fox who used to hide

in the palms on 71st

 

no one has seen him

for a few years

 

I can’t look at the sun

Why would I want to?

He melts objects into the sidewalk

 

On Sundays I check

the refuse they leave in small piles

along the rim of the road

 

Broken poster frames, electronics

plastic tricycle handlebars

faded from yellow to white

the plastic seat from red to pink

 

once I found a picture of a tiger

a fabric cut-out

underneath hand-sewn stripes

with stars embroidered all around

the frame was broken

but that was it

 

The only way to escape wandering

is to stop, place all your suffering

in one cart

and leave it in the parking lot

behind the Saturn Motel

 

no one really goes back there anyway