Bone Density Bill Yarrow Poetry

local_library Bone Density

by Bill Yarrow

Published in Issue No. 155 ~ April, 2010

The Fauves are visiting. Come to redesign

the patio, they have upstaged the heart.

They have brought with them their own music

and solemn gondoliers. Madame Fauve,

with a twisted braid, is dancing. So is

the decadence in the wall. I applaud

the thoroughness of the measurers, but

cannot sanction their pervasiveness.

The Fauves must leave. Stat. I have an

appointment with deadness at 3 PM.

They say they understand, but I sense they don’t.

I have offended the sorcery of art. Ah, art!

Ah, liquidity! On the bulkhead of the horizon,

clouds collect, indifferently like restaurant fish.

account_box More About

Bill Yarrow's poems have appeared in Central Park, Confrontation, Berkeley Poets Cooperative, Poem, The Literary Review, Mantis, Cabaret Voltage Online, The Orange Room Review, blossombones, Angelic Dynamo, ditch, The Centrifugal Eye, Rio Grande Review, Up the Staircase and other literary magazines. He has poems forthcoming in, Pank, DIAGRAM, new aesthetic, and Poetry International. He lives in Illinois. His chapbook WRENCH is available from erbacce-press:
  • Fauve   /foʊv/ Show Spelled[fohv] –noun

    (sometimes lowercase) any of a group of French artists of the early 20th century whose works are characterized chiefly by the use of vivid colors in immediate juxtaposition and contours usually in marked contrast to the color of the area defined.

    Not visually acquainted with the Fauves, it is nevertheless not hard to imagine the sharp juxtapositions of this poem as equivalent to their use of color.

    Interesting voice, sort of put-upon by these damned Fauves come to do up the patio, it's all about art but then there's reality (what's more real than death?) and the mortgage crunch and of course, liquidity. Sorry to be such a Philistine and all, but the dancing decadence of the wall won't persuade me I can just go gaga over art and forget the bone density appointment. Imagine, an appointment and all. And on a serious subject. Not a good atmosphere for the Fauves.

    Great sonics, btw, loved this passage:

    “I applaud the thoroughness of the measurers,
    but cannot sanction their pervasiveness.”

    It's like the narrator is whistling through his teeth. Repressed anger? Of course, the prognosis of the narrator is not good, what with bone density scan and clouds like restaurant fish, another image of death…. if this were cancer one would expect a bone scan, not a bone density measurement, more often used in osteoporosis. What then is the deadness? The Fauves don't understand it and the narrator won't tell despite the title. He uses medical slang, however, to emphasize the emergency nature of their exit, “Stat.”

    I'm tempted to call this a poem of manners, as it is a sticky social situation; the Fauves appear to be well-meaning friends, and it's awkward to dampen their enthusiasm and chase them out.

    Artists make death unwelcome and death makes artists unwelcome, I suppose. Or the tale of the unwanted guest. Perhaps there's a liquidity to our investment in people.

    Good work,

    C. E. Chaffin

  • RobertaBobbie

    Excellent poem. I had always been told that “fauve” meant “crazy.”

  • Bill Yarrow

    Love your analysis, C.E. Thanks!

  • Bill Yarrow

    Thanks, Roberta.


    fauve: Etymology: French, literally, wild animal, from fauve tawny, wild

  • I live in fauvism country, this is magic. I'm spellbound and a little drunk.

  • Bill Yarrow

    Thank you, Claire!

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