Downstream on the Boulevard
DOWNSTREAM ON THE BOULEVARD
'Most people write shit, they don’t write poetry. They write what they are: insignificant self-conscious words that say nothing. You cannot lie in a poem. You cannot lie on a page. Either you have it or you don’t have it. There’s nothing to define what poetry is. It either has life or it doesn’t'.
Jack Micheline, 1987
Ten years ago, the musician Charles Gonzalez gave me a painting. The focal point is a large purple dog with long ears and snout. Only one of the dog’s feet is touching the ground
– it’s not clear if it’s running to welcome us, or scare us away. Behind it, a white house with a magenta peaked roof shimmers, reflecting the gleam of a full pink moon. The roof becomes a floating pyramid, the dog caught suspended: a sphinx. The cliché symbols of Home take on the archaic proportions of myth. The painting is signed ‘Micheline ’90’. It is the work of Jack Micheline, the artist-poet. In 1997 Gonzalez collaborated with him on an album of country songs – this gift from Micheline, to Gonzalez, to me, hangs on my wall and makes Micheline’s work far more real for me than it had ever been before.