COMBINATION

After Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, Museum of Modern Art, 2017
Ideas are not real estate until they are.
Construction yellow room riddled with bullet holes,
3rd floor of the MoMA. Gold behind the blonde.
How Rauschenberg would have moved
through an exhibit—like an arthritic ballerina
on roller skates. Into intimacy
against water-stained wallpaper.

The world is a friendly boy walking in the sun.
Responding to changes in the weather,
dirt in a box becomes an ikebana opportunity.
So does the canvas, seeded with critique:
gilded-pearl mother of God against a strong sense
of nonsense. Did Rockefeller know
what he was sponsoring?

People are comparing you to Dante. They say
you met Virgil. Is that why the crocheted curtain,
the blackened mirror? A dark market briefcase
is an invitation to replace, not steal. No outcome ever
fully certain or controlled, you wrestled with labor,
with large rubber tires. Frustration wired your head
to a horse’s torso and waited for the alarm to go pop.

Under a cloverleaf coverlet, a cache of derringers
blows up birthday balloons. The muscle of money:
a rock on a rope in box. A tender scythe
tearing down the fourth wall. A fishmonger’s
block-long shadow. The thing so shocking about death
is that it’s so believable. Speak of the Devil—here comes Kennedy,
the zipper inspector behind the sheet music.

Every man has a dark suit & white shirt that he wears
standing on the corner. Every man makes his own box.
You have to have time to be sorry for yourself. To most,
a soap dish & a Coke bottle are impotent, discrete objects.
To others, something fertile this way comes. A gap
in which to act. A pregnable moment
to burden with closeness.

Alex O. Bleecker

Alex O. Bleecker is a high school English teacher in Hsinchu, Taiwan. A member of the Seattle-based RE DRUM poetry collective and co-founder of the Breadline performance series, his work has appeared in various print and online journal. His first chapbook Found in a Cord was published by Poets Wear Prada in 2005.