Studio | Michael Balili

Edward Hopper, Office By Night (1945)

  • The secretary pushed the steel file cabinet onto the man and it crushed his torso.

  • So many silences until the typewriter couldn’t take it anymore and keyed-in a word by itself: Dear.

  • This is a prelude to Chagall’s Over the Village. Notice the prepared window.

  • She is pretending to search for a poem, he pretending to read one. How could they believe a kiss to be just a kiss and nothing else?

  • It is already late but he still hasn’t noticed her new zinc blue satin dress.


Sotto Voce | Michael Balili

There is a table between us (please imagine) and we are vectored in chairs like in one-act plays where conversation about anything is possible. Isn’t this bunch of artificially colored mums lovely? The vase’s strong dingbat relief? Let me count how many are upside-down. Let me tell you why four is a funny number.

There is a window and there is curtain heavy with drapery, there is an outside. Have we just gone there? Immaculate delay, what wind has contained us here? Lord what coincidences, incidences. Can we return to our former intercepts: do we want to return: where. Words scuttle and the surface’s last second is now nostalgia: I kept an instant solitude.

Help me answer fourteen across that this irony begones. Please soak the paintbrush, please make it a confession. Please arrange your thoughts autobiographically. I had an unhappy childhood. Can you die for me, I’ve died for you. I’ve seen enough  trees my life (please believe). Come in.

First published in 2005 by the UP Quill in Sitting Amok XIV