J.T. Barbarese

WINDOWS (after Baudelaire)
April 24, 2023 Barbarese J.T.

WINDOWS (after Baudelaire)


You never see as much in an open window as you will looking at it when it’s closed.  There is little more profound, strange, fertile, shadowy or wilder than a window lit from within.  What you see in the open sunshine is always less interesting than what transpires in a simple pane of glass. In such hollow spaces, black or bright, life goes on, dreamy and suffering.
Across this tide of rooftops I right now am looking at a woman, middle-aged, prematurely wrinkled and poor, forever bent over something or other, and housebound. With just her face, her dress, her posture, with practically nothing at all I can recreate this woman’s whole history. Or better, her legend.  From time to time I repeat to myself and fill with tears.
Had she been a poor old man, I’d have manufactured him up just as easily.
In this way, I go to sleep, fortified by how much living and suffering I can stage in others instead of in myself..
Ask me, “How can you be sure such a ‘legend’ is true?” All I can say is, what’s the difference? Who cares what truly exists outside the self, only so long as —  whatever it is —  it helps me to live and know who I am, and to know that I am?

J.T. Barbarese‘s last book of poems is True Does Nothing. Forthcoming later this year is After Prévert, a translation of selected poems from Jacques Prévert’s Paroles.