"Five Tableaux Vivants," Robert Kelly's response to five paintings by Brian Wood (#2)



Moses was able to do what he did

because he was Egyptian and still is.

They know such tricks, water

is just another word for them, sounds

like mmmm, looks like an owl,

the Reed Sea parts before his logic

and the soon-to-be Jews slosh across.

Year after year they try the same trick

to no avail.  Moses was Egypt was magic

and still is.  There can only be one

Egypt at a time, and ours got lost.

Oil wells yes, and lakes of naphtha,

and blue lessive that whites our sheets.

Because we sleep, and sleep compels

sacramental dreams and new hi-tech,

tongues of plenty, arrows that come home.

Moses shouts with his trumpet, sings

with his shoulders, it’s clear the painter

here spent time with him, a long time,

a Merovingian time, shared water with

a ghostly white man near Trois-Frères—

now else could he know and show all this?

-Robert Kelly