A portrait of the artist as a young museum


“You belong in a museum!”
Just a homeless drunk’s proclamation,
but she tended to agree.

Then one day: prophecy fulfilled!

She becomes a 1904, North Island Manse of the villa style
(while next door, the Presbyterian Church has been converted).

She loves the 2 mil window panes,
so thin they distort the view,
and in a certain light, and at a certain angle,
she sees Monet in the neighbouring silk trees.

She delights in the scrim and sarking remnants,
where one room reveals it’s hessian walled past
(even the local museum is limited to modern gibbed plaster boards).

She adds her own additions:
turn of the century township photography,
wooden reproduction writing desks,
woolen carpet with antiqued colours,
and rotary dial phone in Bakelite.

It was only her work in paying the mortgage that stopped her
becoming a full-time museum.
Sometimes she’d notice how curated her life was,
so she’d deliberately leave a mess of DVDs in her “living room”,
but really it was just the contemporary section exhibit.

But museums have openings and she
couldn’t red cordon her life forevermore,
but neither could she curate someone else’s life,
and while he talked to her of
Bobbins from old woolen mills he’d
found hidden in antique emporiums,
she wondered if the museum would have to close.

But even museums modernise. She allowed in a smart TV.
She sighs a little, thinking:
“art may sometimes imitate life,
but I wanted my life to imitate art”.

She dreams of smashing the TV,
but not yet,
not while there’s still
love to be found.


2 thoughts on “A portrait of the artist as a young museum

  1. Frequent visits to the dictionary during my reading of this determined for me that you missed your calling as an architect (or at least an interior designer). I was imagining a very independent woman artist, painting in her studio at an old house at some historical remove until my interpretation was blown out of the water by the DVDs. Then the smart TV hit me as I was liking my wounds. If now injures my pride to beg the background from you on this story of barriers being breached for the promise of romantic possibilities.

    • Sorry for the delay in replying, but I’ve been on a short getaway. The poem was really playing with my thoughts regarding “the myth of freedom”. In this case, the single life may appear to confer freedom for one to do what one likes without reference to another. However, as individuals this “freedom” is really just a form of control, as we like to create the illusion that we can fix our environment (home). So perhaps we trap ourselves in our freedom. This raises the question of whether letting someone into our lives is a compromise to freedom or an actual liberation from it? Of course, I’m writing in the abstract, but I will confess that I did loosely base it on myself (with some exaggeration)…but, hey don’t tell anyone 😉

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