Red Wheelbarrow

Essays & Poems by Luiz Mee

20 pp., 2003



Red Wheelbarrow


  From a historical perspective, I assume William Carlos Williams’s wheelbarrow event is formed by necessary and sufficient conditions, such that, say, the red wheelbarrow had been sitting there before the chickens arrived and the rain came, that day. As for how so much depends upon the red wheelbarrow, well, that is another matter. Kind of scary, really, like what if everything depended upon the red wheelbarrow?

  Because the red wheelbarrow sat there, glazed in rain water beside the white chickens, and it sat there while it was raining, and it sits there now the rain has ceased and the chickens have emerged from whatever shelter to continue doing what chickens do in both rain and shine, I can determine a causal line as to why Williams saw the red wheelbarrow beside the chickens in their various conditions and make inferences as to their relationship.

  It is the task of the historian and the physicist to describe and explain events in time and space, but for the poet, time-space must be placed in events. Historical method for a poet is an eloquent term for the self-created specific formulations of self-created objective facts.

  There’s an inside and an outside to this. The outside looks like a cheap theatrical prop. The inside is characterized by a “self” interpreting the “thing-in-itself.” When I get close to the red wheelbarrow, I understand I am inventing the red wheelbarrow, and that the red wheelbarrow, also, invents me. This is why so much depends upon the red wheelbarrow.

  The red wheelbarrow is the red wheelbarrow. That’s its purpose—to be the red wheelbarrow. The purity of its state of being, the pending in it. I recognize in the red wheelbarrow the sanctity of an everyday thing. As Lu Garcia says, “You can bury it, but it will never rust.”



Reflections of a red wheelbarrow


So little is needed

so much is remanded

so little reaches the front

so much is pending.


Everything seems squeezed

         into a single

point, no place

for me.


Maybe it’s the rain

water. Maybe

it’s the American



I think, maybe it’s a joke,



I don’t get it.