en les musées d’art: a poem

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en les musées d’art

weaving between the people

the blue walls and the 


where perfumes and people linger alike, 

there is something only for those who 

choose to listen. 


and you can hear it 

in all the quiet corners 

of the empty galleries 

(a far-off calling

from a different time)

a certain

 je ne sais quoi

; hangs thickly in the air

and then dissipates, 

beckoning you to chase after it. 


perhaps the bum outside le musée d’art

who unravels Debussy and Satie with his old guitar

has conjured this atmosphere?

(he is invisible and

at the same time essential 

to this moment: 

to the existence of it all.)


and i ( too )

am wonderfully invisible

among the sculptures and 

brown leather shoes, sharp perfumes

and the ever-present hum of people

like cicadas in hot summer. 


to find something invisible, you must become invisible too. 


here, en les musées d’art

you can disappear into

this Otherworld;

float between galleries

and through paintings. 


you can search for the phrases and refrains

which drift (like you), 

beyond the tangible and the sterile. 


in the wondrous paintings 

the madonnas are holding their children

and in the parchment sketches 

the naked charcoal streetwomen are

poor and thin and beautiful. 


there is dignity; there are wisdoms.  



be invisible.  

dip your toes into Monet’s ponds,

and become his water lily.


in the humble Austrian country 

rich black soil from

Klimt’s wildflower fields

sticks to the soles of your bare feet, 

and let it remain.


for what other place, but here? 


only here. 

in this atmosphere 

we can disappear 

into the tints and hues 

to search for this music.


only here, we transcend everything 

in this sacred place where 

the madonnas hold their children

in the paintings,

while the bum-man plucks Satie’s gymnopedie from in-between

the old strings of his guitar.


Contact Alexandra (Sasha) Shahinfar at [email protected].

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