Conjunctions:68 Inside Out: Architectures of Experience

Two Poems

The amber in chamber
glows against the wall
opposed to the window.

Sit where I can see you.
Your hair. The chair
painted yellow
(like that van Gogh
empty bedroom)
long ago looks
golden now. You now.

You now. You know
how things have turned
into shadows of us,
thousands of years to
take on our shapes.
I love this room,
it understands my eyes.


For Steven Holl

The architect is everywhere.
So many solutions
to no problem, like poetry.

Imagine a house, walk in.
Your shadow leads the way
mornings. That sort of house.

Tilt the floor a little
away from the moon,
you’re man enough for house

woods highway storm cloud
churchbell in the dining room
the sea-sunken bed.

Sometimes number theory
is an agony,
five miles in another’s shoes,

your shadow scrapes the floor
you know it knows things
you’ll never tell

no critic knows—
the way a shadow breaks
at the first stair step

a simple bird
bounces off a window
stunned flies away.

This is what a house must be
the rule of three
divided by eternity

we have to know it
to let it go,
a house too is stunned

by where it stands,
wake it
with revelry and prose,

hibiscus, spandex,
the swimming pool
must have no shape

but water alone,
you have it all now,
have her in your arms,

the form of water
wakes up the mind.
You build of light—

footsteps follow.

Robert Kelly has published more than fifty books of poetry and prose, including Red Actions: Selected Poems 1960–1993 (Black Sparrow Press). He also wrote Lapis (Godine/Black Sparrow), Threads (First Intensity), and the novel The Book from the Sky (North Atlantic).