Saturday Poem

Ceci n’est pas un pot?

—But what if one insisted on saying that there must also be something boiling in the
picture of the pot?
—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations 297

i.

The old forger might have laughed,
had he lived long enough to see
his youthful face on the 500 franc note,
recalling, after the war, printing his own
bank notes, painting fake Picassos,
adding de Chirico town squares to the mounting sum
of de Chirico squares just to stay alive.
“This is,” he might have said, “my face.”
“This,” he might have said, “is not my face.”

ii.

“What is in the pot, Rene?”
Sheila coyly asks. Steam
rises, or perhaps blows
a fierce whistle. He
has planned all afternoon
to offer her a cup of tea
with sugar or a boiled
potato with butter and salt
to keep her a little longer—
his wife away on social calls—
to talk of art, or nothing at all.
“Nothing,” he answers. “It is
my upturned derby pouring out
desire. It is the river Sambre,
where my mother drowned.”

M.L. Williams
from
Plume Magazine

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