STILL LIFE WITH VAN GOGH’S EAR

Gala (Elena Ivanovna Diakonova), c. 1936

 

Pink chrysanthemums melt and spread

across the surface of the black-bound bible.

To the left, a clear glass jar of yellow pencils,

each with a small, fierce face and tiny

wings. The ear,

no longer fresh,

has dropped a bit of blood

on the Spanish lace table covering.

Outside the thinly-curtained window,

the sun shines over a field of what we presume

are red poppies. At least,

that’s what we’re meant to presume.

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THE POET’S STUDY

THE POET’S STUDY

(oil on plywood, 4’ x 8’)

~after David Weinstock

Not a simple abstraction—

if there is such a thing 

as simply abstract—

but layered.

Ghosted.

 

Under the brown glaze, 

green—or rather,

greens—escaping 

like leaves,

blades,

tattered flags.

 

The finest edgings

of red,

fingered outward

like flame.

 

Are those human faces

in the cloudiness

at the center,

or pomegranates?

or are they cats,

or planets circling

a central sun,

or is it—a bowl?

Or is it merely the gold

at the center of everything?

THE SWING

THE SWING

~after Marc Chagall

 

His mouth is open, mid-sentence.

The soles of his shoes are yellow,

his pants are green, his jacket

is blue. The figure behind the swing

is a brown blur. The swing

is in mid-arc, coming toward

the artist. In the ether 

above the child, three cats

and a dog named Crazy

who is brown as Earth

are springing into being. 

Crazy went away once

for a fortnight. When he got home,

he fell asleep at once. The animals

came with the swinging child

when he drove from California

to Vermont in one day.  The cats

are named Thak, Willy, and Quilly.

They all died before you were born.

 

 

~Realized the next day that this is an imaginary Chagall painting. NOT Cassatt!

 

 

MORNING AFTER

(tempera, glitter, found objects on cardboard)

~after Linda Shere

Those splashes of color—

pink, green, yellow—

represent, I believe,

pajamas. Or

sleeping bags.

There’s a plate of—

cookies—on

the table.

Chocolate chip.

Or—possibly—

blueberry muffins?

No. Cookies. 

Art supplies everywhere–

paint, brushes, glue, clay.

Art everywhere.

There’s glitter on everything.

Well, almost everything.

Not on the muffins.

Cookies, I mean.

Feathers.

Coffee filters.

Small plastic animals.

3 hair ties 

or whatever

they’re called. 

Those elastic things.

I’ve never had a daughter,

so I really don’t know.

THE DOG OF CHAUVET CAVE

THE DOG OF CHAUVET CAVE

 

Only one.

Painted in yellow ochre,

her black eyes shine with calcite.

Her teats are distended with milk, 

her curved tail suggests motion.

You wouldn’t notice her.

Indeed, she was not noticed 

for years since she is small,

overshadowed by the horses,

the lions and bulls;

since she was not officially domestic

for another twenty thousand years.

Beneath her, in the dust,

a fragment of mammoth bone.

Painted above her head, 

a single handprint,

again in the yellow.

A small hand, carefully placed,

poised as if to caress.

PORTRAIT

PORTRAIT

(Neo-Realist School, mid 21st century)

ascribed to J. M. P.

 

She could be someone’s grandmother

with her pink cheeks, white hair

in a bun, the immaculate lace

 

collar fastened with a cameo.

She sits in an old-fashioned

lawn chair—a blue that clashes

 

with the blue sky and the blue

flowers of her dress. Her lips

are slightly parted in a slight

 

smile, but her eyes, as she stares

at the viewer, are challenging.

Both hands rest lightly on an

 

animal curled asleep on her lap.

It is the size of a small dog, but

do not be fooled. Notice

 

the fine brush-work.

The artist has perfectly rendered

each guard hair, each glossy quill.