Poem As Fountain/ Nauman, Duchamp

Nauman, Duchamp



If every poet on earth stopped writing
right now, forever, what would be lost?
Bubbles fall through the water, each
containing a choice. This is a test
of your artistic commitment. Once
they were a long cold drink. Now
fountains are ornamental. Who needs
this monument? Perhaps lovers,
concealing themselves behind white noise
in fragrant jardins d’amour. Travelers
rushing through the city or airport,
each face creased into a polite scream—
watching can unwrinkle them. But already
we have more cherubs, urinals,
colored lights than anyone can look at
in a hyperextended well-educated
middle-class no-guns-in-the-home
American lifetime. I say it’s the making,
not the architectural sketch but the feel
of a pencil in the hand, that saves us.
A tool that is not a weapon. The relief
of holding water in your mouth
for an effervescent moment before
releasing some brief, brilliant cascade.

Authors of the article

Carolyn Capps teaches drawing at the University of Virginia and has recently exhibited work at the Chroma Gallery and The Bridge in Charlottesville, Virginia. She grew up in Black Mountain, North Carolina and earned her MFA from the University of Georgia. “We Are Not Our Work” is her first digital collection.

Lesley Wheeler’s poetry collections are The Receptionist and Other Tales; Heterotopia, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize; and Heathen. Her poems and essays recently appeared or are forthcoming in Subtropics, Gettysburg Review, Rattle, and Poetry, and she blogs about poetry at www.lesleywheeler.org Wheeler is the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.