Jeremy Ganem

Mappa dell’inferno from L’inferno dantesco. c. 1480. Sandro Botticelli. Book illustration.

L 'enfer, ce n'est pas les autres

It is the eye of man bled through—

The morbid world’s blind mote

& the need to make it true.

Regardless of the pretty cost

Art’s hand performs the need—

The prison of the lost

Is not god or ancient creed.

It is this line, this ink & brush

This book, this mark in time,

That crucifies but for the rush

& to hear a pretty rhyme.


The printer is the damned,

To illustrate the seed,

Capital your pure demand,

Only pure ink may feed.

Jeremy Ganem © 2016

The Jerusalem Windows. 1962. Marc Chagall.

I feel too, as though the tragic and heroic resistance movements, in the ghettos, and your war here in this country, are blended in my flowers and beasts and my fiery colors. . .      —Marc Chagall

The sun of Russia is the Lord of Kansas, Marc.

We peasants know these things. Even in the dark

I can still see you in Jerusalem

But we never reach asylum

Or lands of dancing goats & towers

Eifel & peasant women dreaming hours

In the village pure as power

Tells the real story Marc, not fame

Or faith or the Mystic with his shame-

Ful book, his beloved Shekinah.

No, rather it is shock & awe

& dead or dying presidents

That set the world’s precedent.

Sadly art is excellent

At dreaming sad gods & village

Maidens, not the swillage

Of exodus, a death-march drum

Haunting God’s bought Jerusalem.

Jeremy Ganem © 2016