to Brian Shields
Little blues smudging browns,
parroty flitters in the shadows:
a studio mentality is suspected,
a swim in substance without a back,
on the wild side of nomadic narrative.
Heigh ho, Joan, heigh ho, Cy,
allow us to walk with you thru landscapes squiggling in the light,
up your color cliffs,
like the tiny figures in King Lear
who cling to impasto while harvesting samphire, which smells of the day
when color first emptied its buckets onto the world.
We begin dirty, don’ t we, loves,
hoisted out of the organs’ slick
and washed shiny, like a raddish;
but it ’s the greasy kisses you love,
that I love that you love.
How swell you are:
not for you a mastiff and beat-up red gas can in the back of a pickup;
not for you empiricism’ virile bench press, like US troops arriving in Iraq.
Squarely you face toward the blast that got us here
in a perfect offence to reason –
something unthinkably small that could hold it in no more,
all that feeling, that itch to be extra,
the provocation that made Hildegard babble of “purple lightning”
and van Gogh poke the world’ s eye with a yellow stick.
Confetti, confetti, confetti, then, to the color vanguard,
their palettes of juices, their color hypotheses
that challenge the transparency of tears.