Self Portrait #1
One wonders if perhaps the subject
Note the inertia shivering in his limbs.
As if he greatly wishes to rise
The picture has an unfinished air–
blank patches, abandoned strokes,
hastily mixed colors
struggling to life,
waist deep in being.
Pale shadows under the eyes–
The artist laid on too heavy here,
pre-occupied with ideas
of exhaustion and defeat.
Defeat already conveyed
with the subtler truth
of tentative posture
and the flesh’s sallow hue.
whispering like California grass.
Cool as autumn stone.
A lamb on spindly legs, minutes old,
blind and bleating sadness.
A generous hearth, exhaling.
in the chaparral.
The mouth a disgruntled hairpin.
A watery smile, quivering, as in a dream.
A piece if fruit moldering in
Nose not broken, but undisciplined, defiant–
a residual glitch from the initial Cubist tack,
and the sudden shift toward, what…?
And yet the unsettling incongruity remains.
A pall of invisibility hangs upon the visage,
as if the paint had been thinned too too much.
The viewer becomes suspicious,
thinking her eyes have begun to blur
with unexpected tears.
The realism is not of a
It is not grim
like Van Gogh’s soiled, gnawing peasants.
Or noble in its vulnerability
like Courbet’s deer.
Yet there is still the wisp of some ideal.
The subject sits, chin in hand,
the classic pose of ponderance.
But unlike the Rodin,
he remains unconsumed.
His mind appears to hold its breath.
An asterisk suspended
in the dim light.
no abstract dervish
slicing quiet elegance
through the gilded air.
No host of seraphim
and the terrifying chorus of revelations.
A soap bubble sheen, whirling, purple, clear,
There is hope in a vacuum.
Into it rushes all,
the sick and the foul and the pure.
Amidst the river stones,
in the slosh and rattle of the pan,
the tiny, breathless glimmer…