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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10X: 24 Dec. 2021
Poem: 621 words
By Jonathan Yungkans

La Porte

—After a painting attributed to René Magritte
 

La Porte (The Door): Painting (possibly 1942) attributed to Renee Magritte
La Porte (The Door)*


1
Seeing the door hinged skyward, 
sideways in a limestone wall, 
suggests walking a wall. 

2
Footsteps, horse shoes, wagon rims—
the wall a quay. 
An ocean of resonances—
currents of a quadrivial thoroughfare 
which show nothing. 
A quibbling imagination 
eavesdrops though a keyhole. 
The door’s quiescent reverberance 
does not allow itself 
to remain closed. 

3
Infinite deep of bleached stone. 
Door a raft, adrift. 
Brass hinges 
and a brass knob 
to open the door and comb the beach 
along the bottom of the sea. 

4
The door, 
contumacious as a fresh-quarried block, 
quibbles 
about being sawn into its circumstances. 
The door, 
rooted in a tree’s diurnal querulousness, 
quizzes 
land and sky where the balance of itself 
remains. 

5
A wall of quicksilver light—
Lutetian limestone. 
Door frame 
whitewashed with quicklime, 
bright corona. 
The door’s dark oak 
pulls all light in the room toward it 
and through it 
while remaining closed—
a quandary for the eye. 


6
Knock on wood, 
a tree that 
falling hopes 
it might be 
heard. No more 
or less green 
than a brass 
key. My great 
-grandmother’s 
skeleton 
key turned how 
many locks? 
In which doors? 

7
Does the door 
make its surrounding blocks a wall 
of tombstones 
by never opening? 
Its sparkling hinges coffin pulls? 
How many hands 
have polished that doorknob? 

8
This is the only Magritte doorway 
which remains closed, 
a question. 
Other Magritte doors are shown open, 
as answers. 
This door queries 
a viewer’s gaze under lock and key. 

9
Unseen shoes and steel 
wear down cobbles 
on the unseen side of the street. 
This is the quiddity of the wall. 
Colognes and perfumes 
querl with smells of sweat and wet leather, 
hay and flowers. 
This is the quiddity of the door. 

10
A sage plant near the door reminds me 
of beyond the door. To remember 
the doorknob and hinges. 
How they turn. 

11
Limestone is porous, 
collects time 
in its numerous 
voids. It must be sealed 
often. The skeleton 
called a matrix or frame 
continues as far 
as paint or recall. 
Moisture extrudes 
when stone is saturated 
as beads 
resembling tears. 

12
No time and all of time lies—
prevarications sheathed in limestone. 
Edges chiseled 
with steel minutes, wooden hours, 
an eternity of hands. 
Fitted to surround a door. 

13
Sage spreads a mint-green blessing 
in leaves 
toward light and shade. 
The closed door 
never closes while the wall 
weeps. 

14
The silvery sphere 
before the doorway 
is amniotic, 
aquatic, teardrop 
and none of these things. 
Opaque as the door, 
its metal luster 
whitens into stone—
granite, not marble 
in its truculence. 
It could be a pearl 
for irritation’s 
value to provoke 
opinion and light—
the clucking of tongues 
for the egg it is 
or pretends to be, 
whatever hatches. 
Pathological 
liar or constant 
pleaser for the eye? 
How far-off to swim 
though an open door? 
How fast against oak 
for stone or water 
to pass, as if wood 
were air, imagined 
to become a wave 
for the perfect curve 
it does not possess? 

15
Chimes 
like shining 
wrenches jostled in a tool box. 
Silverware 
slapped 
when a drawer containing them slams. 
High 
metal tones 
rise and subside behind the door 
as sleigh bells 
hush. 

16
Sage leaves twist into bird beaks—
birds of paradise or doves, 
a green, cooing flock which sound 
like owls as the leaves expand, 
the sage plant feeling its wings. 

17
The door, querulous, 
remains fastened to some appearance 
of remaining shut. 
Remains fastened to some appearance 
of being a tree. 
As a tree, it would never be shut 
but grow through the wall. 
Its roots may have cracked the wall stones 
despite appearance. 

 

 

*Publisher’s Note:

La Porte (The Door) has been attributed to Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte (1898–1967). A framed version of the above image may be viewed at: https://flic.kr/p/2mEApsP (link retrieved 12-20-2021).

Although the specific catalog number is unknown, admins of the Facebook group René Magritte, which is committed to reconstructing the catalog of the artist’s works, believe this painting is an authentic Magritte.

In discussions, they noted that The Door (Die Tür) (gouache on paper, 1942), a painting on loan from the collection of Udo and Anette Brandhorst, is on exhibit at Kunsthalle München, Bavaria from 15 October 2021 to 6 March 2022: Fantastically Real Belgian Modern Art From Ensor to Magritte.

Jonathan Yungkans
Issue 10X, 24 Dec. 2021

is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer with an MFA from California State University, Long Beach. His work has appeared in San Pedro Poetry Review, Synkroniciti, West Texas Literary Review, Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor, MacQueen’s Quinterly, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and was published in February 2021 by Tebor Bach.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Two Duplex Poems, plus author’s notes on the poems and on the form, by Jonathan Yungkans in Issue 10 of MacQ (October 2021)

Lawful and Proper, poem by Yungkans in Rise Up Review (Fall 2020)

Cadralor in the Key of F-Sharp as It Cuts into My Spine in the inaugural issue of Gleam (Fall 2020)

I’d Love to Cook Like Hannibal Lecter [video], read by the poet at an event sponsored by Moon Tide Press (10 October 2019) celebrating the anthology Dark Ink: A Poetry Anthology Inspired by Horror

Saving the Patient, poem in The Voices Project (18 January 2018)

 
 
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