Sandra Simonds



Paintings on this scale require the help of assistants.
     We are the sum total
   of our social relations.
      Rubens is not an intimate painter but his pictures
   convey the restless
              energy of his life.
     I am going on a five mile run this morning before
   I take my children to the Florida History Museum. It is Sunday,
October 28, 2012. God will enter
        the picture, but only in the places
the painter didn’t intend—on the white knee
            of the defiant horse who has no
      desire to go into battle, in the pupil of a cloud,
          in the splash of the king’s chamber pot
as the servant carries it out into
        a winter morning.

       Warhol had elves who helped him paint
   the words “Cheddar Cheese,”
    “Onion” and “Vegetable Bean”
    onto his canvases. I run past the closed
             down Safeway of Bradfordville Road,
see three kittens under a palm tree,
imagine the kittens and palm
           as the up / down digits
        of the stock market. Wait! These things
are not things! They are not
             information! They are not
   money! They are simply three kittens
             and a tree.

Today the troll on Twitter calls my friend
a “fat hog.” Warhol’s cans are elegant,
     painterly even. I, too, need a community
             of poets, or at least
    a few who will read my work
    and confirm that I should keep writing
and when I think of you, I tell myself
     to try to be a good person
     as if that’s all that matters
and then desire. I miss you.
“It’s all projection,” my friend said
when I told him about the troll.

 Why did you abandon me inside
the humanities? Sometimes I think
the sheer abstraction is killing
me. I clipped coupons
      to no avail. I trained for a half-marathon.
        Nothing. Look at the queen on horseback
at the Battle of Ponts-de-Ce; regard the fame
and glory that flutter around her head.
Is she what she means to be?
Is she? Is she?
         The factory and the workshop.
                        The dying, the dead.
Follow me on Twitter, and then follow
      the nightlife fixture, the “party girl,”
     in the role of vixen. All of this
        is accidental literature. When Warhol
was told Edie Sedgwick had died
      his response, cold and calculating
     as that king’s piss,
was “Edie who?”

Wendy XuSandra Simonds is the author of four books of poetry; Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Press, 2012), House of Ions, (Bloof Books, 2014) and The Glass Box (Saturnalia Books, 2015). She is an assistant professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.