Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Bill de Kooning

I recently worked on a prose poem celebrating de Kooning and some of the other New York School Painters. I thought I would share it in honor of Bill's Birthday. Enjoy

The Irascible by Owen Harvey

De Kooning.

Like light on silver,

de Kooning is

looking at water

reflecting water

reflecting standing

like a clam-digger

or a swimmer

being touched

by the silence

of water.


Pollack is breathing

after swimming in the salt ocean,

cold lungs filling with breathing

like smoke out of lungs breathing

like swimming out of the salt ocean

like smoke over the salt ocean

like the salt ocean swimming in smoke.

Smoke and salt caught in a rose-bush.


Imagining red imagining yellow imagining blue.

Light as tall as the sky.

Light as wide as the horizon.

Light to the edge of the plane.

Light to the edge of the canvas.

Light disrupted.


Spilt wine on our bed sheets,

the sun is stuck under water.

A rainbow spills

like color resting in oil

forgotten on the pavement.

Morning is the sadness

of wine after rainbows.


The sound of broken glass unable to reflect color

as it drags like nails across the dark blackboard.

A loud ca-caw ca-caw

from the murder out our window

as rained birds wait

with wet plumage

for the sun to dry their feathers.


To paint the last painting

is to paint the last painting

that one has painted

before painting the next last painting

one is going to paint last.

A black tarp is gently layered down,

black clay over the naked earth:

a blackout boogie-woogie.


Exploding fire

above the terra-cotta,

the unfixed

with the fixed,

a modern baroque

broke like words into image

like image into soul

like soul into hieroglyph,

a language without tongues.


A bloody tissue accidentally lost

in your pant pocket.

A widow’s laundry hangs long dark

and shadowed

on the clothes line

after a hot summer’s rain.

The pain of remembering something

while it is being forgotten.


A doodle is gesture

is stepping is dance

is air is breathing

is cosmos is epitaph

written in the mystery

hidden beneath a mustache.