Sunday, March 14, 2010


(photo by AMP for Wiki Take Philadelphia project, 10/14/2009)

(Philadelphia’s JFK Plaza, with Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE sculpture added in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial)

To visit this spot in your hometown
Is somewhat unsettling. Again,
You see
The letters of the word LOVE
Stacked into a square, the V
Lopsided, the fountain –
With its water sometimes tinted
To promote something-or-other –
The skate-boarders,
And the junkies,
But no lovers
Going public with affection;
The most well-known public incident
Caused by a coupling here
Was not sex but
A stabbing, when one homeless woman
Killed another who she thought
Wanted her boyfriend.
The park is not a monument
To Love, but to the tendencies
Of cities.

At least the letters
Are red as spilled blood; that much
Suits the danger
Of the situation. Often, unmedicated
Crazy folks may scream about apocalypse
And fill the air with messages of fear.
It makes you wonder
Whether FEAR’s the word
That should have been
Immortalized in steel.

You remember
Bringing your bagged lunches
Here when the sculpture
Was new, when the word LOVE seemed
A bit more like it might belong here.
Traffic continues
To circle the spot,
In a flow daily events
Don’t interrupt.

This same sculpture sits
In other public places,
Spread out all across
The planet,
But the feeling
Its name drops
Is more elusive –
An abstraction
(NOT in the artistic sense).

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.

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