Giacometti: The Soul; For the Phosphorous Heart

besmilr brigham

GIACOMETTI:      The Soul

stretched on a wire. the god
image of brutality
made intimate. maleable, torn with insensitive
out from the protection of flesh
and still living—the individual

bloody heart
that breathes

he still stands;
the face looks outward. mirror
within a mirror, the eyes

uprooted bones, that walk outward
from the burning bush—heart
of the tree
where all the rotten and soft
has disintegrated, washed
in salt to this point of a hydrate
endurance (were you the man
i met at the Luxemburg gardens) lonely
and wanting to come home.
did you take me to the place where

the poor eat. drinking with the eyes
a salad of grass, entrails of
nourishment. there were no dogs left;
the dehydrated flesh
clings to the bone, cries out
on a dark night
on a dark street
(it is simple to die) complexity
we wait for the healing   hot flames
of feeling
to come back to the earth; the men
of straw—are working in the fields

cast in bronze
eternal, the army moves

thorny rose, the earth a psychic
fruit—in observation of the brute
we see ourselves
in multiple, intimate
association  of the mind, body
that absorbs moisture. a recognition

of similiarity, preposterous
embellishment.   in a destroyed world
music is lasting:     i paid a street violinist
ten franks
to play the Massanet Elegy
(the eyes of the saint are closed in
prayer)  instrument of strings
body sinuos,  the dead eyes of the Saint

an eliptic figure
holding his head in his hands

For the Phosphorous Heart

the wild wild bird

            into tangle of honeysuckle, walked
            with folded wing
            on ancient vine-runners

            eating seed, absorbed
            the late season liquor . .

            to fly
            from inner box, dead creepers
            strong as wire
                         he flew, he flew
            against the absorbent light

            not closing his wings! how
            can one of flight
            bend low—step
            through narrow passage

            thin as a hand? the hand
            in fright and fury; and pinions
            that bore him

            up—up, above trees and fence
            to keep him, keep

            his single struggle
            vivid as the lark. head high
            he flew and flew
            made fast as a large leaf dying


These poems were selected and transcribed from brigham’s private archive in Las Cruces, New Mexico, by Robert Snyderman, a poet, educator, and independent scholar. The poems appear as typographically accurate to the originals as possible, and were taken from both uncollected and collected contexts.

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