SECTION SEVENTEEN
POETRY PAGE FOUR

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COLUMN NINETY, MAY 1, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)

SEEING AGAIN A PAINTING BY MARSDEN HARTLEY AT THE TERRA MUSEUM

The wind of music swings open a gate.
An arc of hand draws the line and bow,
then a touch to dampen the tympani.
The name of his lover rides to heaven 
held high by the hum of violins.
Such is the sigh when flesh unfolds.

The artist outlines chevrons in black, 
all the while imagining his lover's face. 
There is so much he wants to show him 
as horns echo the dance of armies. 
Paint a red arrow flying to yellow wings. 
One sore heals another.

The New World draws out the old 
when he sulks below the lamps of Paris.
A lame warrior from birth, he is one
who gains the hour by a sketch.
Stay away. His lips taste of tobacco.
Forget the jigsaw years, just build a day.

The gray hulls of battleships move 
like a brush through murky turpentine. 
Gunners sight their shells by eye. 
An artist learns to aim at another heart 
with the viscous scope of oil.
We are all fisherman who haul up bones.

These mark the confines of his world:
a rocky coast in Maine, the weave of linen,
pallets of mute desire, and a bottomless 
draw when men move into shadows.
"If he is part of me, how can he go away?"
All ages are equal by the wound of love.

Time and desire. The itch of melodies.
To sing when the snow falls is to weep. 
The other word for loneliness is ice.
He painted a code for their names 
and read it like music. The color lingers, 
then a blank silence like looking at the sun.  ##

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