Tag Archives: painting

ekphrasis again

here’s an ode to henri rousseau, the jungle painter who never left paris.

The Dream, Henri Rousseau 1910

Rousseau Relives the Jungle
You follow the soothsayer shadow with her lute
and cobra boa through the season of tiger lilies—
she is an anti-Eve hip-swaying down the black paths
of Paradise, fanned by murky hands of leaf-gloom.
These are the visions that haunt you:
apes among the tangerines, a reticulated sky
of palms and coral sun, the leer of alligator grass
and the blush of the lotus like each kiss-kernel of love
you left in her neck—Oh Henri, awake from your stupor,
your periwinkle daze. Come back to us from the gardens,
the Edens labyrinthine beneath your lids—your trance
is a planar place falling flat on the canvas, but we feel
the stir of teal and linseed on your palette, the rush
of flight you took over the hurricane’s eye. You are
a golden beast prowling indigo thickets, ambushing
the antelope and biting deep into the heavy humid
of flesh and blood, leaving scars nestled in the clavicle.
Your surprise blooms in the gesso wash unfurling
thick as a dream from your brush and lingers
like the drift of jasmine on an electric breeze.


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Filed under New Writing, Poetry, Summer work, Unedited, Unpublished

another quick one

Still Life

On the desk you left a dry orange: a crumbled rind
and sour insides acidic to the touch, sugar drying
in curled traces on the wood-grain. I think you wanted
to paint it—capture some juicy drops in oil and turpentine.
But the sunlight glowing in those citrus cells called
much louder than the transfer of sleek, pebbled skin
and stringy carpels onto dead, dry canvas. You abandoned
the project for the sear of summer heat on shimmering
waxy leaves, the cool darkness of shaded
tree bark grafted and re-grafted to shape the perfect
green-black stock, the pleasing bite bursting
pulpy and seeded over your lips—
sometimes a life is not meant to be still and set
aside for examining, pictured from afar. Sometimes
it must be consumed.

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Filed under New Writing, Poetry, Unedited, Unpublished