Search This Blog

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Color II

Questions for Silence                                                  Paul Guest

In its first thin tide. In the place
to which it's come like a stranger.
Where the day is a map
you cannot read, crickets begin
in the warm night to whirr
green songs they could not unlearn
had they minds to grow bored.
The willow tree shudders
as though it were sewn up
with twitching nerves, with wire
bright as new-minted pennies. Where
do you go to gain the ear
of the moon, its ravaged face
lamented by no one? And
what do you tell something so old
it cannot remember
being once part of the world and not the sky?
What would your shadow care
to hear, to come close, to touch
hand to wall the tremor
of a passing train? If it had bones inside it,
you know it would flee.
So what are your words worth
to the hurried traffic,
to everything blurred,
to the ice cream truck
and its sweet patrol,
its song spilling out like a toy,
even in the dark? For all the sunlight
passing from the world
like a thought, who might you sing
to timid sleep? However long
you waited for rain
to rinse you of light's molten color,
for the elbow of the river
to bend back
to your life, the grass whispers,
you waited too long
and all the while it speaks
it grows. 

Time and Materials                      Robert Hass
Gerhard Richter:  Abstrakt Bilden

To make layers,
As if they were a steadiness of days:
It snowed; I did errands at a desk;
A white flurry out the window thickening; my tongue
Tasted of the glue on envelopes.
On this day sunlight on red brick, bare trees,
Nothing stirring in the icy air.
On this day a blur of color moving at the gym
Where the heat from bodies
Meets the watery, cold surface of the glass.
Made love, made curry, talked on the phone
To friends, the one whose brother died
Was crying and thinking alternately,
Like someone falling down and getting up
And running and falling and getting up.

The object of this poem is not to annihila
To not annih
The object of this poem is to report a theft,
   In progress, of everything
That is not these words
   And their disposition on the page.
The object o    f this poem is to report a theft,
   In progre    ss of everything that exists
That is not th    ese words
   And their d    isposition on the page.
The object    of    his poe    is t    epro    a theft
   In   rogres    f  ever    hing    at    xists
Th    is no    ese    w rds
   And their disp sit on o     the pag

To score, to scar, to smear, to streak,
To smudge, to blur, to gouge, to scrape.
"Action painting," i.e.,
The painter gets to behave like time.

The typo would be "paining."
(To abrade.)

Or to render time and stand outside
The horizontal rush of it, for a moment
To have the sensation of standing outside
The greenish rush of it.

Some vertical gesture then, the way that anger
Or desire can rip a life apart,

Some wound of color.


Landscape                                                            Chad Sweeney

I subtract one color at a time
to arrive at green.

Green cardinal.
Green snow.

This green is excavated rather than built.
Looking you begin to feel

what culture feels when exposed

to time---
a pit

in the air, a climbing up to
no altar.

The clover,
the teeth of the horses,

Green burns in the green cloud.


Did We Betray the River                                                      Dionisio D. Martínez
Did we betray the river or did the river betray us? You've noticed, I'm
sure, how, under certain conditions, a ladder leaning on a wall is a draw-

bridge waiting for a sailboat that keeps delaying its journey, calling
the man who operates the bridge, layering elaborate excuses so neatly

that the man only hears one excuse: the boat's coming, just not yet, not
while the water's in control of the situation. The man waits—drawbridge

up, traffic on hold. Sometimes the world is all patience and silence
and there is nothing you can do to stir up trouble. The driver who keeps

a knife beneath the seat is tapping on the dashboard a song coming from
another car. This is an exception. Others are praying to their private

rivers, as if the one just ahead were not there: seeing is too easy: one
acquires increasingly complex needs, like the taste of earth just

turned by oxen who know the plow as well as a man knows his river. We
know this blue's an illusion: the things that shelter us are colorless and

hover just so, not quite halos and not quite hats, and they can all be named
even if the names are arbitrary, even if they're not quite words. Our boat

waits for the water to go from blue to brown to ocher, as in a Turner
vision—a realism so crude it borders on beauty, the way beauty

was meant to touch us: with its repulsive allure, its unwashed mirrors of
heavy morning fog. We have to look head-on, and learn to forget again. 


Nasturtium                         Gigi Marks

is a ring of simple petals
in a single o of surprise as if saying,
this is not what I expected.
is color in one shade that doesn't flinch
but meets what fate hands out,
the slender stem broken and placed
in clear water in clear glass,
so that there are no more days outside
near round-faced green petals, and
there are no bees and no seeds to
form, and the earth that seemed
so certain always right below is gone,
and all it seems to say is I see with my
one way of seeing that I will live what life
I have left in someone else's house.


Hummingbird                                                            Barbara Crooker
He comes every day, in his crushed-emerald cape, flashing in front
of the kitchen window, quick as a thought, and just as elusive;
one blink, and he's gone. Try to show him to your mother,
who's come by for tea; she doesn't turn quickly enough,
doesn't see his throat, red as a stoplight, doesn't see him
dart in and out of the bee balm, honeysuckle, trumpet
vine. Her skin is thin as a folded roadmap; she's setting
off on a new journey. The tea trembles in its porcelain boat.
She is getting ready to board a great white ship
whose sails are already luffing in the wind;
the hawsers creak and groan, the crew
is ready to cast off. But she is still casting on,
yarn the color of spring grass, yarn the color
of heart's blood, knitting afghan squares
for the homeless. She sips her tea. He flickers
back into view, takes a long sweet drink.
He signals stop, then go; stop, then go,
both directions at once, confusing semaphores
that spark and crackle in the brilliant, merciless sun. 

No comments: