The Gallery

Brandon Shimoda

The Japanese gallery was in a European town
the art was in traction

The town was blessed with angelic gargoyles
keeping vigil over moistened streets

and rivers pinched 
behind every face-like building

Flowers deposed 
in every window,   limited colors.   

I was not allowed to speak 
about what I had seen
Even though I could not remember   
I was not allowed to remember   
to another
who saw it either

standing shoulder to shoulder
staring at a painting of a massacre
from which the sufferers [had] been replaced
to center the camouflage of negative space
that binds suffering to celestiality

what was the seeing after all
but transposing one’s latent identity
onto a pattern

to venture its corrosion   I took a step back


Japanese artists were relegated to the cliffs
while western artists were permitted to keep their heads

Could open their mouths 
as wide as would be 
dragging bodies into the furnace


The password to get into the Japanese gallery
was Grey
followed by a number [began with 1]

sympathy for the lightning 
defused by the people
with nomadic cerebellums   in the windows
sympathy for the lightning   the mud beneath the bridge   
sympathy for the mud   
and the way you stand 
before the electrocuted rectangle   the erogenous zone
rising formal out of the mud 
of village living

all of life
becomes pasture

art instills 
the first sentence  
that initiates the drafts   
all over again

seascapes? ladders into globe-like
mock orange trees? 
wooden puzzles?