In Memoriam: John McCracken (1934–2011) by Dr. Marc Straus

“Plank,” a memorial poem for the late John McCracken.

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 116 Summer 2011
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Home of the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company

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John McCracken, Magic, 2008, stainless steel, 104 × 14 1/2 × 17 inches. Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery, New York.


I bend my bone against the plane. It is as if
I am leaning and the plank is straight. The blue resin
is the color of my veins and the red
is my hair.

There is a hill I remember from childhood, brown
and spare with a single majestic pine that had
no business being there but then nothing could be
the same without it.

I think about that pine, I think about sitting beneath it
and feeling as though now it’s just the two of us
against the barrenness and sky. Love
is like that.

How everything might be simplified and how
I am only a few molecules amongst so many
others. Some day scatter me and leave
a couple of planks behind.

Dr. Marc Straus, an oncologist, has written three books of poetry, all published by TriQuarterly Books–Northwestern UP.

Fred Eversley’s Black, White, Grey by Claire Barliant
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Cosmic Objects

Enacting Stillness by Kay Larson

From mindful Minimalism to inaction as activism.

Rhythm and Blues: Tomashi Jackson by Cora Fisher
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Artist Tomashi Jackson explores the rhythms of labor and the poetic vernacular of popular culture and visuality in America.

Originally published in

BOMB 116, Summer 2011

Featuring interviews with Francis Alÿs, Carla Faesler, Binyavanga Wainaina and Rob Spillman, Simon Van Booy and Siri Hustvedt, Natalia Almada, Joanna Newsom and Roy Harper, Scott Shepherd and Richard Maxwell, and Mickalene Thomas. 

Read the issue
116 20Cover