There’s nothing here to see. Relax.
Beside a Coke machine, a guy who acts
As if he’s in a movie
Puffs on a Marlboro Light. It’s moody;
Nothing’s happening except
For blue sky, gas pumps, asphalt. Here’s the precept:
“Nothing comes from nothing” (Lear)
If there’s no plot, no drama here,
Then what is there to witness
Other than the act of witnessing? Unless:
Like Ruscha’s oil of LA’s County Museum on fire,
His Standard Station goes up as well, higher
And higher the orangish flames, the pall of smoke—
A kind of art world in-joke.
(One thinks of Hopper’s lonely station too
Along a Truro road, its bluish hue.)
So why would anybody stop and gaze?
Because of all the ways
That red and white can coexist:
Coke and t-shirt, billboard sign for Listerine, amidst
The crimson pumps, a pack
Of cigarettes, flattened on a tire track.
Near the end of one’s career
The details tend, like Claude Monet’s, to disappear.
And yet these vivid colors
Must have been here all along, a universe
Of nothingness before the Big Bang.
And little else to do but have a smoke and hang.