Writing Home from Thick Shadows
After five Franz Kline Paintings
The logs are refusing to be pulled into the mill,
the birds are only dots in the sky,
and the earth is white in mourning.
(The Ballantine, 1958-1960)
We left the water spilling down
and the logs raised their heads to us
like baby birds wanting food.
Bobbing birds in black water.
The water turns gray during the day
only after it passes through what we have built.
Brother told us to hold a chick in the door
and soon a man would come by
and exchange it for wind he brings from the city.
Exchange it for a drop of water
that will fall slowly at our feet and bless us.
(Painting No. 2, 1956)
Sometimes we sit on the logs with our legs dangling,
and try to levitate the slow sparkles in the water with our eyes.
Sometimes we stare so long, it appears to be happening.
Sometimes we stare so long, we rock back and forth.
We have finally seen the Chinese woman
and the way she lifts her cheek to the sky,
for the raven to come and kiss it.
In the city we have learned about outlines
and trapdoors and Buddha and women.
In the city there are certain kinds of dances
you dance without any instruction.
- Janelle DolRayne (from apt)