A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

from _Fragmentary Ekphrases Based On Paintings Made By Monkeys_

[Yellow, green, and black gouache; by Julia, a chimpanzee]

The pupil said to the master,
“I am looking for a new principle
of repair
and cross-pollination.”
The master replied,
“Go sideways into the next
interstice and, from there,
you will find me again.”
“But…” interrupted the pupil,
but the master,
severe and expressionless,
put up his hand
as an unimpeachable sign
of counter-interruption.
“You tell, but
you do not question.
You factor,
but you do not forage.
Your answer can be strung
from a series of postcards
seeping from the torn template
of your concentration.”


  1. Every time I look at this painting I think it is a representational painting of a monkey clinging to a giant banana. This poem does a lovely job of concretizing its abstraction for me!

  2. Thanks! Hey, I didn't notice the monkey/banana thing-- good call.