"Five Tableaux Vivants," Robert Kelly's response to five paintings by Brian Wood (#3)



How can we help?  

From the magician’s tall steep hat

a green mamba remembers

the lean lianas of his jungle.

No.  That’s no help at all.

Once in Staten Island

where the Italians, and the zoo

specialized in reptiles cheap

to buy and cheap to keep. Stop.

That’s the same road, the same

venomous streak across the path—

resemblances are the death of art,

bring wars, divorces, coronaries.

No hat no snake.  The magician

has vanished himself the way

smoke drifts through the trees.

Not smoke, mist.  Not mist either,

light taking on body from the air.

-Robert Kelly