Poem by Mary-Jane Duffy - after Marie Shannon

After reviewing Marie Shannon's show Rooms found only in the home, Mary-Jane Duffy also wrote this poem, inspired by the work.

The hallways of love

(after Marie Shannon)

 I think about books I’ll write and books

I won’t write. I think about poems. I think

about dogs I’ll own—little to medium sized

odd-shaped dogs with underbites—and other

dogs. I think about cats I’ll live with and there

aren’t any cats I won’t live with. I think about

houses I’ll live in with lots of windows and views

to the stars and bedrooms with opening doors

and beds that are so sad to get out of. I think

about lights I’ll stop at and lights I won’t stop at

—disco balls and such. I think about sneakers

I’ll buy, high tops, maybe pink ones with glow

green laces. I think about artists I want to meet—

Louise Bourgeois. I know she’s dead but still.

And Shirin Neshat. I hope I’ll like them.

I think about horses I’ll be introduced to.

I don’t have to ride them. I just want to know

them well enough to stroke their velvety noses

every day, and comb their manes of course.

And maybe brush them down with one of those

horse brushes if they want that. I think about

rock pools I’ve looked into and how I need

to look into a rockpool at least once a year

and think about the colour of the limpets

and the rust shades of the seaweed and

the rocks I can lift up to see the tiny crabs

run away. I think about the knitting needles

in my wardrobe and the gloves I’m not knitting.

It’s hard to knit when you’re happy. Knitting is

something I do when sadness overtakes me

and I need to calm myself or watch a lot of TV.

I think about dragonfruit I’ll eat and mangoes

and going to the dentist next Friday

and how my teeth are complaining

but not communicating their complaints

well. I think about kimonos I want to wear

and silk dresses with sashes and World t-shirts

with sparkly strawberries. I don’t care

if they weren’t fabrique en Nouvelle Zealand.

Denise L’Estrange-Corbet bought those stripes

and those sparkles together here. I think about

songs I’ll sing at karaoke and songs I’ll sing

with my ukulele and songs I want to learn

on my guitar, songs like Amy Winehouse’s Valerie

and the Maverick’s Dance the night away. I think

about how stars cluster together to impress us

and how the moon is just impressive. And how

Marie and Julian loved each other. And the clouds

that live next door. Such noisy clouds always playing

loud metal music and drinking too much. And then

noise control comes over and shuts them down

and the rest of us can finally go to sleep.


Mary-Jane Duffy