The reason it’s modern to be fragmentary is the ancients had death and war
but a broken herm
was broken, omen of the approaching death in war and not a work of art.
We see the beautiful bizarre foursquare scarecrow with penis and balls growing
from the wall, penis almost
always broken, and miss the broken arms, crystal glittering in the discs.
I don’t, though, miss them, maker keep your crystals to yourself, his balance
between person and
abstraction’s so stirring I want no other token for anything can happen.
He’s a person dragged away from personhood. The movement is ongoing.
A messenger insofar
as he lugs the unfolding news of his enduring. His message his undoing.
Santo Stefano Rotondo
Come, walk this path
between flapping tarps
holding back on either side
the way a bedsheet hides
from her her labor when
the scalpel’s in it, come along
behind one friend in front of another.
Looking back the path narrows
(memory a scarce resource)
and bends, takes on the gentle
curve of the earth as if in the space
of that city it were given your body
to feel for itself the four inches
up and four inches down
per mile the planet swells.
Come and look at the frescoes:
they pucker with little logs
each round end is red
with a little gray circle in the center:
on each horizon (belted
from sea to sea) the dim awakening
potential for something equally made
from ignorance to rise up
all of a sudden is forecast
and if to get to safety slowly,
laboriously, circumstances draw
the flip-book of the city unbuttoning
one building at a time until it stands
revealed in grasses, slaves, with little jugs’
worth, little necks
of red paint splashed among
the pastures and meadows
and symbolic birds, and dewdrops
everywhere red, then who am I
to call it unconstructive.
Artwork © Tim Hallinan