White Center, 1957, Mark Rothko
A woman told me once,
On weekends I drive into LA,
brave all the traffic, pay the fifteen
dollar parking, sit in front of Rothko
all afternoon. After that I assume
she drinks slow-brewed hazelnut lattes,
listens to concertos in the Biltmore,
skydives off the Bank Tower.
I tried to sit in front of it, tried
to see it. The first time I saw it,
I was fifteen; I was with a brilliant woman
who studied philosophy and killed herself
at Princeton, and she said, Look,
it bleeds. He meant it to express great joy.
I could never see it after that.
I tried driving into LA, tried paying
the fifteen dollar parking, told myself,
Look, here it is, you like this.
But it was always still, and my eyes
were always filled with noise.