Walking With You in the Dallas Museum of Art

by Samuel Spencer

We walked along those long,
wide halls, square rooms with their
assorted features of age,
theme, and aesthetic, and
you walked too fast. We stopped,
briefly, to talk about what we thought
the semi-contemporary art was trying
to say. In one room, there were large paintings
on the walls, paint violently whipped,
splashed, poured onto the canvases,
and forced to be art. Only a blood-spatter
expert could guess the trajectory, the artist’s
premeditated intent. In the corner
was a pile of clear, broken glass bits, some shards,
beckoning some tissue-like fingertip
to touch, to feel, its edges and prove it, though
totally still, can make someone bleed.
In the other corner, a mysterious red button
on the wall with a sign that read: “Press me.”
But no one did.
And then, we walked to the center
of the room, where we paused
to gaze and rest our soles. There, on a square pedestal,
sat an old-timey, electric fan
encased in a glass box. At first, we laughed,
genuinely wondering if this was a piece or not,
but, when you walked away
and I stood there a little longer, I realized
how terrible, how heartbreaking, this piece really was,
how I wished
I was captivated enough
to walk away with you
and not realize this captive fan,
encased in a glass box,
making its whole existence a waste.
You see, if it happened to be switched on,
to come alive,
no one in the room,
not you, elsewhere, or me, standing right there,
would be able to feel it.
Its purpose, to blow, reposed, encased, made to be just air
confined by something almost invisible.
And you walked away.

Later that weekend,
I told you how I felt,
how I wanted to be more,
how I hoped your ears might feel my words.
But you did not feel the same,
and you did not want to be more,
and my words, that is all they were, just words

confined by something almost invisible.
And you walked away.

About the author:

My name is Samuel Spencer. I am a graduate student in an MFA program for creative writing. I grew up in Africa, moved to America, and plan to move back to Africa one day. People ask why I plan on that, but I don’t like to answer that question; I’m afraid they’ll want to come with me.

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