BY JAN HAAG
CONSIDER SLOW COOLING
"I made my first sculpted
human figure from five different metals. But when I had finished welding
it together, I took the hot metal out into the cold winter air and the
whole thing contracted at different rates. It flew apart in my hands.
That was my lesson in slow cooling. There was no saving it. It flew into
hundreds of pieces."
hot to cold,
contraction at different rates,
it'll shatter in your hands.
Consider the surprise
White snow all around,
a hot new sculpture in your
the frigid air like God's fist
shattering it into
Consider the sound, popping
and hissing, cracking
still small shieks in the stillness
of an early dawn dedicated
Consider the smell, the ice-fresh
the sun contemplating its rise, the scent of sun rays,
bare, structural trees, standing,
their odorless limbs angular to their
sap gone to their roots.
Consider the taste: Hot metal
the kitchen has a taste of over-ripeness,
Chruuuuuuaaang! The smell/taste
is gone, melting like daggers
the snow, the taste of feathery water.
Consider the touch, hot in
your gloves --
you must have been wearing gloves.
How hot can a
statue be --
while being transported into
You can touch the fragments,
but not the whole.
fire there was belly,
buns, arms and legs,
a noble head, texture
like a human skin.
It stood in your hands for a few
maybe longer. Out of the fire, on to the ledge,
floor, you watched it while putting on
your overcoat in the hot/frigid
air of the foundry.
It wasn't very big on the ground, the dirt
You fingered it with fleecy gloves, thick
leather on the
Take it home! You're tired of the heat,
of the sweat of
You stoop, retrieve --
O Devayani, watch this!
walk down the hall,
push open the great double
grateful the foundry isn't yours.
Someone else will damp down
douse the lamps needed to illunimate the
space even in the day.
You've got a human figure
you feel you could slip through the molecules
of the door
without opening it,
but settle for a conventional exit.
genius is in the work. The conception.
Thud! Explosion! Your hands
are flung out
and crumpled in,
there's a hit in the belly.
the time you worry about your eyes,
the fragments are skidding on the
of the walkway that brought you empty-handed in
and will take
you empty-handed out,
the ice air like fire in your
Should you pick up the pieces
like shovel slashes in the
You made a human figure,
O Devayani, did you see the human
-- attracting the fog
in the frigid air,
feel its response to the freedom of the world,
the breath of existence! --
exploding in the snow.
Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I Am Innuit
Crossing the Country
BY JAN HAAG