At the Museum of Modern Art you can sit in the lobby
on the foam-rubber couch; you can rest and smoke,
and view whatever the revolving doors express.
You don’t have to go into the galleries at all.
In this arena the exhibits are free and have all
the surprises of art–besides something extra:
sensory restlessness, the play of alternation,
expectation in an incessant spray
thrown from heads, hands, the tendons of ankles.
The shifts and strollings of feet
engender compositions on the shining tiles,
and glide together and pose gambits,
gestures of design, that scatter, rearrange,
trickle into lines, and turn clicking through a wicket
into rooms where caged colors blotch the walls.
You don’t have to go to the movie downstairs
to sit on red plush in the snow and fog
of old-fashioned silence. You can see contemporary
Garbos and Chaplins go by right here.
And there’s a mesmeric experimental film
constantly reflected on the flat side of the wide
steel-plate pillar opposite the crenellated window.
Non-objective taxis surging west, on Fifty-third,
liquefy in slippery yellows, dusky crimsons,
pearly mauves–and accelerated sunset, a roiled
surf, or cloud-curls undulating–their tubular ribbons
elongations of the coils of light itself
(engine of color) and motion (motor of form).
May Swenson, “At the Museum of Modern Art”