The Mexican Murals are sense/memory poems written by adapting some acting exercises of Stanislavsky and combining them with William Burroughs' walking on colors technique. Each color I walked on selected objects for me, and because of their being singled out, seemed to have meaning. The meanings came out disjointedly but there was a glue, an underlying idea (linked to memory) for each piece. In the section "Granted," I considered what money grants and what life grants and contrasted love and currency. "Vanity" is a tribute to Gerard Manley Hopkins who asked, "To What Serves Mortal Beauty?" The return of great love is anticipated in "A Feast."


A FEAST, excerpts

A plum feast. A depth which is memory. Is human leafed
ridged combed gleaming approaches. Arranges itself by
the window. Behind the curtain is my future. Learned.
Learned by heart.

I've read and read and I've eaten. Fleshly sweetly.
Bound beautifully delicately blooded. Sturdy as a
stallion thoroughly. These words undo me! And then
to top it off you come in big blooded the same. Called
what feeds me which is life solid and spoiled. Silken
to touch beautiful and strong. You're fair and raw and
ready what failed? The idea of you succeeds where facts

But this is a feast . . .
I'm happy! It all falls together. You and words work
shelve sprain annoy and rise up splashing. Suddenly a
word refreshed and soapy comes up. Lakey memory purely
felt. Immense green lately grown. Blooms a royal color
as if speech and blood were one.

Sometimes you didn't speak for a long time. Sometimes
you worked. Sometimes you were a big man.

An arrival a feast. Weighted as if returning were central
and appealing. Fondly frightened fondly freighted for
one moment you know it's a lot. A sleeved moment. Here
my fondest cure I can't proceed.

GRANTED, excerpts

What granted me gold? Was it great? What
gave it can grab it away showily? Shakes
down what gives slowly this big thing. Sure
it gives it has nothing to do but. Something
big and lazy hangs its tongue out to me
that's all. This glitters. Just that.

Back to the big thing which is gold and blue
and big without end. The give of it all. The
large lazy universal. One says beauty. One says
no art. Another money yes it purchases what's
worthy. I say the word in the beginning. By
them you know them. The shoulder I nuzzle to.
The sex that pleases me. What I worship at's a
bright big that. I find instantly.

VANITY, A Tribute to Gerard Manley Hopkins, excerpts

I'll put on a dress. I'll put pearls upon my grey dress
over pink flesh. I'll put a little death cowards die upon
it. I die a thousand deaths daily gladly so what I'm scared.
Brave too making one foot before another in a grey dress.
Brave too to love. Brave too to eat these days. Boy it's
busy out there buying and selling brother it's swell. I'd
die for those diamonds and kill for a car really all I
want's grand fun come on come on let's get dressed and go out!

Vanity Gerard is something fleshy yet yet. Spiritual yet
you call it by name. You call it comes. Not kneeling no
not before a glittering thing yet yet. Glows a bit. And
it gives nothing. But it takes nothing neither indeed is
you simply. So what's the fuss? Is perhaps pride but not
arrogance and gets up with you. You through your
possessions including your face and mind. Mind me now
not simple self love but loves self. Loves leaving and
waving. Loves coming and kissing. Causes no pain and flirts.
Shares itself generously. Takes what God gave and gives it

Cynthia Kraman Genser is the author of Club 82, Workingman's Press, 1979, and Taking On the Local Color, Wesleyan, 1977. The Mexican Murals and "On Style and Change," excerpted in HOW(ever), Vol. III, No. 1, are forthcoming from e.g. press, San Francisco. The author lives and works in New York City.

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