after Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla
A piano traveled forwards
and backwards, traveled along salted
tracks inside an atrium, nailed to ten
horizons, as Vallejo pretty much said.
A pianist emerged from the aperture
in the traveling piano (what kind of music
can you put a hole through, asked one artist,
who called the performance “Stop, Repair, Prepare”)
the pianist inclined as if dancing tango
facing the 36 and 52 backwards and dragging
his burden lid frame hitch pin
as if it were an alligator’s tail
as if it were a set of legs exploded
by an anti-personnel mine. Ode to Joy propelled
itself forwards and backwards propelled itself
inside an atrium. A cipher with two operative octaves.
Operative octaves. Octaves. Inside an atrium.
In sympathetic harmony. Pianist attacks retreats
surrenders over the keyboard since the eye
is a hammer and the soul is a piano with its many strings
as Klee remarked just upstairs from the ruckus.
I’d like to bring to your attention a line
about sustaining and dampening but poetry
is not for me and who, Vallejo, are you squinting at?
Rachel Galvin is the author of a book of poems, Pulleys & Locomotion, and a chapbook, Zoetrope, and translator of Raymond Queneau’s Hitting the Streets (Carcanet), which won the Scott Moncrieff Prize for French Translation. Three books are forthcoming: Poetry and the Press in Wartime (1936-1945) from Oxford UP in 2017; a translation of Oliverio Girondo’s poetry, with co-translator Harris Feinsod, from Open Letter Books in 2018; and a poetry collection, Lost Property Unit, which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and Alice James Books’ Kinereth Gensler Award, will be published by Green Lantern Press in 2017. Rachel is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago.