Elegy for Marni

  1. Let’s ricochet. Let’s have him followed. He walks real fast.
  2. He’s walked right out of a Giacomo Balla. His legs are
  3. futurist paint. Let’s give him a paper parasol and see if he
  4. can open it without breaking. Trying to open a parasol for
  5. the first time is scarier than he imagines. Standing under a
  6. paper parasol makes him feel like a fun cocktail. He feels
  7. garnished. A tropical drink, or maybe he’s thinking along
  8. the lines of the “tropical flakes” which a certain fish was
  9. never given on account of his bad advice. Marni, little
  10. quiverer, bluer than sapphires but less resilient. He’d said
  11. “once a week” but should have said, as the “tropical flakes”
  12. container states, “two to three times daily.” Leave it to
  13. someone with an eating disorder to force an eating disorder
  14. on a fish. Let’s all for a moment pause and think of Marni,
  15. who led a vibrant but really short life. In order to first open
  16. the paper parasol, completely open it, he needed to work it
  17. back and forth like something he hadn’t anticipated as
  18. sexual. It felt like he was trying not to hurt the parasol. He
  19. treated it like a person. For the sake of instruction, they
  20. looked at an etching in the living room of three school-girls
  21. holding paper parasols. Two of the girls were smiling, one
  22. of them more nervously than the other. Unsurprisingly, the
  23. more confidently smiling girl was akimbo, touching but not
  24. really holding her green satchel. The third girl seemed not
  25. to like being etched or looked at. To which we responded,
  26. “we’re not looking at you, we’re looking at your parasol to
  27. figure out how to open his. We’re trying to learn something
  28. here.” The parasols appeared identical in terms of trestles,
  29. somewhere between Noguchi and McQueen. Upon closer
  30. inspection, it seemed the discomfited girl was propping up
  31. her parasol with her hand, keeping it open rather than
  32. holding it by its handle (which the other girls were doing).
  33. The girls that were smiling evidently had figured out how to
  34. open their parasols. The third one was more like me. Maybe
  35. that’s what her face was about, her moue. Maybe some
  36. parasols are just two-handers. Let’s pose him with his
  37. parasol beneath the etching. Only after the fact do we
  38. realize his sinuous two-handed parasol-holding pose is very
  39. much like that of the discomfited girl, although he doesn’t
  40. feel discomfiture, per se. Two-handing a parasol turns the
  41. holding into choreography. Let’s brainstorm. Let’s swap
  42. ideas without realizing they’re nearly the same ideas, or the
  43. respective reflection of ideas in a pond just after someone
  44. skips a stone. For instance, that roses open without the
  45. effort of parasols. If parasols only needed sun, there would
  46. be no reason for this poem. And if roses needed great effort
  47. to unfurl, this would be a different poem altogether.
  48. Imagine having such a relationship with a rose. That’s
  49. dedicated horticulture. Carefully, each morning, working
  50. the sepals. Some things open on their own accord. Some
  51. things never open. Some things open eventually. One can’t
  52. know in advance which parasol one is holding. If one is
  53. akimbo, or smiling nervously, or glaring. This was like
  54. people. This was like Marni, more parasol than rose. He
  55. couldn’t feed himself anymore than the parasol could open
  56. on its own accord. Not that roses are completely
  57. independent, but in terms of opening, yes. You don’t want
  58. to get involved. You just watch, hence the point of looking
  59. at a garden, watering or weeding, but keeping your fingers
  60. away from the buds. But the parasol, the glimmering fish:
  61. these were different stories. These weren’t fish stories. They
  62. happened every day.