Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Eli Siegel

Neighboring You

On a table 

With the sunlight coming in, 

A mat, irregularly placed, with many curves within it; 

A napkin somewhat used, by now a little disreputable, 

On the mat and on a plate, blue and white, 

With the plate seeming to shelter the napkin, 

And space between the plate and the napkin— 

Space like space in Alberta, Canada; Alaska; or New Jersey. 

The space under the disreputable napkin 

Is with the great democracy of existence called the Space Republic, Empire, Territory, Nothingness. 

And, look! a cucumber is standing upright in a container, 

With half a cucumber near it, but seeming to be aloof. 

Radishes are here, tumbling rather neatly, 

With one radish on top of another, standing as a lookout. 

A quiet tall glass, looking a trifle used and just a trifle dirty, 

Stands above and to the side of the mat. 

A letter just received, telling how good Aesthetic Realism is, looks towards an apartment building across the street, with dainty fire-escapes,

And the blue sky, flatly across the apartment building and some rather murky lettering to the side.

This, my friends, is existence,

The meaning of which will last forever.

It is all reality, to be sure, including the disreputable napkin neighboring the slice of cucumber,

And somehow neighboring you, the reader.