Sean Rys

When the dance ends, everyone lies down & lets their hair out. I carry a fistful of smashed flowers, slip them between belt loops of these AM dawnwalkers. You're in the basement again, whispering names through the drywall. You claim the landmarks you've swallowed have made of you something mappable. Now the train asks us deeper still through its innards, the faraway music reduced to wing-noise of gadflies thumbed in a snuffbox. If this newsboy steals my face from the mirror he wears it with sadness that looks regal. No secret the janitor's young body haunts you. That you dream him nosing his broom through hallways made weary by movement. Outside the cook drowns a litter of kittens in black rainwater & every good-looking lockpicker enters the first room that will have him. It occurs to you lust is the part of the evening you wake from smelling like horseradish. Tell me the one where the janitor crawls into the earth & crosses his arms I say. Maybe the radio's switched on. Maybe you're reading aloud names from a waterlogged phone book. The word poignant comes from the French, you say, meaning 'to cut'. All around us bay windows sneak in the possibility of buildings. Restlessness unvowels me. You stroke your javelina-tooth necklace while tiny brush birds lie down inside me like plastic explosives. I know your smile means you've fallen asleep inside your body. I know if I held my ear to your breastbone, I'd hear the pins in the gearbox miming their forced sweetness.












The idea for "Hinterglasmalerei" can be traced back to an MCA retrospective for painter Jim Nutt in Chicago. 'Hinterglasmalerei,' roughly translated, means 'painting behind glass.' My encounter with a series of Nutt's canvases done in this style led me to think about other interior spaces that function as exteriorities, other modes of transference where background becomes foreground. The poem above is one of the pieces to shape itself out of this thinking.