p
o
e
m
s

So the dish ran away with the spoon.

Although the dish prevailed,

what they didn’t tell us is

how the spoon escaped.

The spoon wanted more contrast.

That’s a fact. It’s also a fact

that juxtapositions are endless—

frying pans and bricks,

skillets and hammers,

the fluttering flags of small nations

and old books with titles printed in gold,

a shrine of three crosses

and used tablecloths,

family photographs badly faded

and benches with three legs,

frayed Indian rugs

and the remains of a stone terrace

and broken plates,

wrenches and nametags

and a pile of pine bark

and pigeon feathers.

Each has its contrasting harmony,

as with Cezanne’s apples and jugs.

Also, as with Cezanne,

if you don’t know what goes

with what, you leave it alone.

Clarence Major is a poet, novelist, and painter. His recent books include Down and Up and From Now On: New and Selected Poems.

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Further Reading

 August 16

“Both sides do it” is a species of magical thinking perpetrated by those with a deep institutional investment in upholding status-quo power relations.