Poem of the Week: Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn

My most popular poem on Instagram this week was “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn”

Here we have it,
an urn’s future
and present and past
a picture performance
in three parts
in a well-funded
gallery of the arts.

1. Ai Wei Wei holds the urn
Between the hands of an artist,
a Han dynasty vase.
Ordinary in its day,
surviving two milennia to be here,
time-transformed into treasure,
precious and rare.

2. Ai Wei Wei lets go of the urn
The artist opens his hands,
the Han dynasty vase.

3. Ai Wei Wei stands over the urn
Eyes up, holding our gaze,
hands open and aloft
above the pieces at his feet,
the artist owns
the viewers’ outrage,
and his camera-captured destruction
and what it might create.

So there we have it
for what it is worth
an urn future and present and past
a picture-performance
in three parts, in a well-funded gallery
of the arts.

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