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Kiss/Hierarchy
by Alexandra van de Kamp

Le Pont de Passy et la Tour Eiffel
--Marc Chagall (Oil on Canvas 1911)

Circus clown + rouge-cheeked whore =
the color scheme for this city scene.

It’s France, of course. Pass the soup,
sing yourself to sleep and watch a river

murder itself again and again, the waters
churning in their own tureen of sunset blood,

the eye sucked along as if dragged
down a drain—some internal plumbing

in the paint pulling you toward the back
of the scene, where The Eiffel Tower waits,

the faucet turning off and on
all this luminous action, all this Technicolor

speed. The evening a migraine of pinks
and greens, or a clementine smashed

into sheer pulp and sheen. At the embankment
stands Chagall’s blue and green horse—a flattened

gypsy caravan, a paisley toy in a child’s
hopeful hand. Lurid fairy tale + working-class

arrondissement = a train shuttering across
the metal bridge—its blue windows blind eyes

in a Peacock’s sleeping tail. I’m waiting
for the gangster girl clutching her purse

to appear, skidding on heels beneath
the buildings simmering in reddish-

dark shadow, by the fiery brick walls
lining the river. Instead, no people in sight.

Instead, there is just the sky:
a crime of light and desire, a gash

of dark blue that whitens
as it recedes towards the Tower.

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
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