Inspired by PTG.0272 Revolution (Egypt) / Students, artists and citizens in Cairo), 2012–2015 exhibited at MMoCA February 7–May 17, 2015
Raw energy. Enough to turn the world around?
The paint slops over the frame, floods
the wall with colors, shapes, slashes that veer in every direction.
Perhaps, in defiance of gravity,
a felucca’s prow hints at a flight to the sky. But those rosettes?
Don’t they remind you of LSD trips? The tulip-like cluster
on the upper right evokes the flower children of Haight-Ashbury.
Golden circles on the left practically waft the scent
of Egyptian lemons. And the scarlet Rorschach blots
on steroids? Their home is the Berkeley Hills.
So it’s American graffiti meets the Arab Spring.
Ecstasy. Serious frolicking. Imagine belly dancing
without a body—cabdriver or nurse—
who maybe helped ChanSchatz make protest into art.
No pictures of snipers shooting from roofs
or women in burqas heaving bricks. If you’re like me,
you search for scenes that keep your mind in line.
Historical guidance? No Sadat addressing the Knesset;
no Nasser over Suez. Instead,
ChanSchatz deploy abstraction as a “catalyst…for democratic action.”
Adrenalin does rush, until the glands give out,
heart rates slow, and dark comes on. Revolution slumbers;
reaction awakens. Muslim Brothers rule, fall. The army
resumes control. El-Sisi will take it from here.
Richard Merelman, a native of Washington, D. C., taught political science at the University of Wiscsonsin-Madison for over thirty years. His first volume of poetry—”The Imaginary Baritone” (Fireweed Press)—appeared in 2012. Recent poems have appeared inLoch Raven Review and Lake City Lights. Two poems are forthcoming in Blue Unicorn.