Saturday, January 2, 2010

Making Scenes, Rachel Wetzsteon (1967-2009)


Each view is threefold. There is the topmost
layer of things unequivocally seen: the man
in loud pants, the forlorn sidewalk cafe, and the
ever-present pigeon who gnaws a wrapper.
There is, beneath these things but glaring
as black at a wedding, a list of what they are not:
not a loved one spotted, not the locus
of a tryst, not a rare, significant seabird.
And onto these two pictures clamps a troublesome
third, through whose distorting surface
birds are half swan, half sparrow, and slumming kings
and their well-dressed subjects eat lunch together.
This last layer, a patchwork of givens and
engineering, shakes the first two until nothing is solid.

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