Debra Marquart, an Assistant Professor of English at Iowa State University, was commissioned to write about the mural as part of the Art on Campus Poetry program.
Palimpsest by Debra MarquartYou are here.
--Notation on Concourse Maps
Let Y be your destination, the unnamed
place beyond the flickering fluorescence
of corridors, the terrazzo floors worn smooth
from the shoes of the dead; Let X be
your present location, the uncharted
space between pencil and chalk marks,
the keypad's incessant clatter. Listen,
you are here, a blip on a screen, transfixed
between home and away. It is possible
to create a life, doors opening to other
doors, the fresh breeze of tomorrow
rushing in to make the world new
each day. The canvas remembers
its maker, inside the hairline grooves
under the brushstrokes live the barest
traces--whispered thoughts, words
spoken, mundane as groceries, bills
and gasoline. The fingerprints
of the dead are everywhere, the tiny
whorls like plots to cities where one
could spend a life. Best to find
your own path, chart the roadmap
etched under your skin, sit down,
get to know the wantings of your feet.
Debra Marquart's work has appeared in numerous literary journals, and her poetry collection, "Everything's a Verb" published in 1995, won the 13th annual Minnesota Voices Award. As a collaborating member of The Bone People, a jazz poetry, rhythm and blues project, Marquart has recorded two CDs: Orange Parade and A Regular Dervish. In the 1970s and 1980s, she was a full-time road musician touring with rock and heavy-metal bands, and is currently working on a collection of short, interrelated fictions about roadlife entitled "Hunger in the Bones."
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