Tuesday, May 10, 2016


First I'll choose a canvas, large --larger,
more ambitious than I've ever done before --
and cover it with black:
the dark mystery, the fear,
the wonder and the loss
that lies at the heart of being found.

Then comes the fire --
bright slashes, red, yellow and orange;
gliding slick across the black,
and when they overlap, the tension --
as it always does -- between opposing colors
gives rise to the rich texture
that begins to invite the viewer in,
both hiding and revealing
that dark seductive wound that lies beneath,

and then intention, sharp and clear:
here come the familiar, beloved colors,
layered on in confident and satisfying strokes...

But the canvas, larger than I've practiced with before,
takes energy, and my arm begins to tire,
but still I'm pouring on the color;
feel the subtle pull at overlap, and lift the knife
(ever so slightly) so the paint, which now begins
to have a mind of its own, can pull at itself, creating gaps
where the darkness and the flame that lie beneath can breathe through:
bright promises of all we might discover if we were patient,
looked hard enough and long enough until our eyes glazed over
like the glaze I now apply to smoothe that ruffled edge
delineating sea from sky, suggesting all that firmament,
those hills we've yet to climb --

and now the white, the inevitable, the clouds, some streaked,
some pulled, some brushed in circles to enhance their fluffy charm,
their gift of adding definition, bright reflections even as they cast
dark shadows on the sea that lies beneath --

but stop! You asked for sailboats, wanted that triangular suggestion,
the steady little masts, the wake behind, and though I try to follow through
that hint of man, with all its promises of struggle and dissension,
generations of deceit, labor and war -- I balk,
and after several attempts to add what you request,
I lay the knife and palette down, refusing to suggest
an interruption to the endless sea,
the spirit that now moves over the face of these still waters.
The waters that have gathered here together won't be sundered,
and I stop, and now declare it to be done.

Perhaps another day, on a canvas larger still,
a sphere, perhaps,
this process will begin again, the darkness and the flame,
the waters and the sky, and I'll have the strength to populate
creation with the consciousness that you so long to see...

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