after Richard Diebenkorn
It is the light coming through a window,
through several windows in a room where I am standing.
It is the light in Ocean Park, a park
by the ocean or a park that’s made of ocean.
It is the particular way the sand catches the light
and the way the waves change the light
with the different ways they move: first one light
then another, light falling on something rough or smooth.
It is the light over the dunes and behind the dunes
and on each curve of the dunes and on the cliffs
that I imagine loom over Ocean Park.
It is the light shining through the foliage of the park
as it moves before the window in the wind. No,
it is a wash of green with gold coming through.
It is the light of each hour of the day
in one room full of windows for thirty years—
can you imagine?—but it is not what Monet did.
This light doesn’t change a cathedral
or anything else. It is itself. It is light
cut up and put back together, the way a prism
or water or sky can do, yet not like that:
This light is stitched together with black lines.
Can I stand before this pink and say morning,
this wash of blue and say afternoon,
this orange and say only orange?
Can I stand in the room where he was standing
when he painted all this canvas filling
the gallery around me now like windows,
but not windows, though I can’t help but try
and make them like. They resist the mind.
They do not represent. But words, words—
no matter how you cut them, they cannot
not mean. You cannot just stand
in them. They are made of meaning.
They cannot be unmeaned.