Monday, December 6, 2010

the refinery (original version as a poem)

It stands one mile outside of town.
The old refinery stands now in twilight.
Many pieces have been taken for salvage,
for scrap, but the vast skeleton is still there.
Darker than the evening now going deeper.

No longer an architecture and alchemy for chemicals.
No longer the pensive men, by day or graveyard shift.
No more sound and vapor, dissonance and movement.
No dull clicks of billiard balls in the smoky break room.

Down where Arkansas sleeps restlessly,
on the fitful, dreaming outskirts of a town,
the hulking and scarred refinery changes.
It has been changing for many decades
into a work of entropic art. A thing now
self-sculptured into disturbing lineaments.

But even this new thing, this jarring abstract artwork
is haunted by migraines, sudden death, and memory.
In night hours, a strange wind will move through the girders
of a rusted catcracker and water tower, around storage tanks.
It is always perplexing to observe this artwork when it wavers,
when it takes on tacit skeins and rosy glow, becomes itself again.

Even a dead refinery has a ghost that comes out to breathe.

acrylics on paper, 18 x 24, by Tim Buck

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