“Cubism” by Zinnia Hansen
November 28, 2022
“With your pictures you apparently want to arouse in us a feeling of having to swallow rope or drink kerosene.” – Braque to Picasso
Maybe it’s as simple as this:
Maybe God’s hundredth name is His face.
I try to paint it on the moon,
but I can’t reach far enough
to fill His craterous, traitorous nose pores.
My red paint drips, staining the earth
with something other than blood.
So instead, I sing, tone-deaf, into the dark
gauze of His wine-stained breath.
Maybe this is why they took a hammer
to the sad Greek statues
in the inner courtyard, creating suburbs
out of devotion to the world
they would be buried beneath.
Maybe they relegated themselves to the satellites
of their own soul just to get a glimpse inside
the mystery of the horizon.
As I stare at Guernica, I yell like a bull
with his horns tangled in triangles:
Lorca, free me! Put the dancer back into the dance,
and we’ll forget we ever needed war drums,
forget we ever protested the beat.
But then I hear children running,
their light-up sneakers slapping
against the museum’s marble floor.
A couple starts to waltz.
They’re both wearing the right dress,
fencing with the hems of their long red skirts,
In each twirl, are the statues
of ninety nine proud soldiers.
The bombs fall around us,
planes trace windows in the sky.
They’re aiming for the rose
at the center of the garden,
but all its petals have already fallen.
The 2021/22 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate, Zinnia Hansen, read this poem to open our 2022/23 SAL Presents event with Patti Smith on Friday, December 2, 2022. Learn more about SAL’s Youth Poet Laureate program here.