Saturday, August 20, 2011

openings (for Janet)

Her selection of pigments glistens on a palette,
pigments vibrating in rhythms of probability --
stochastic atoms of colors matching synapses.

The canvas seems infinite, a white ground bass.
And music will complement her morning brushes --
Scriabin or Miles? Chopin or Tom's 3/4 cadence?
Ah...Debussy will spread his elusive prismatics!

What will emerge?

It's not for me to know how she opens the portals of dream and vision.

But phantoms come, and forms of feeling
become masses hanging in strange balance.
Deep fall the eyes into that opening rendered.
Wild is the way that spirits clothe themselves
in chromatic meaning, then aesthetically whisper
into the pensive Moment haunting brushed fabric --
melancholia and suspense, death and wan Eros.

It's not for me to call this magic or miracle of color between now and numinous.

Or...a muted drama of black ink and charcoal
performing metamorphosis in titanium white.

Objects without name are apparitions
made of what this painters is feeling,
in hues wrought from mineral silence
to uncover modes of arcane space.

A slow grinding of intuitions into image opiums.
A grinding of elements into immanent powders,
releasing powers of shaman, seer, oracle.

Sienna, umber, ochre, madder.
Cobalt, chrome, cadmium, copper.
And the blues! -- brilliant or nocturnal.
All for alchemy transmuting incantations
that sigh in violet or simmer in alizarin.

A spellbound mixing of slow ecstatic oils
into inspiration, dark-gleaned discovery,
bringing affective texture to presence.

But sometimes I do wonder...
just what is happening underneath
this paint and these ghostly forms?

If I stared too long, if eyes fell too deeply,
I might see too much, go mad inside layers.







All images the property and copyright of Janet Snell.



  1. Loved the ending. A perfect pairing with the paintings. You write of poets and painters so beautifully.

    I am wondering, as writers, poets, if we romanticize everything too much. Is there such a thing...too much romance? We could write about cleaning toilets in such a way that made it sound as appealing as making love. And then when I actually cleaned the toilet, I would find it completely against the task I read it to be. Disappointment follows. And so sometimes I wonder.

  2. Thank you!

    It could be that there is indeed too much lovey-dovey and unrequited stuff in poetry. Or if not that, too much other dark, depressing crap. But for reason, the form seems to be a natural place for those themes.

    Sometimes, I do like to write about other stuff -- less about me, more neutral, even lighter in tone occasionally. Or in the case here, about a friend and her work.

    I did write a poem about a guy who sucks out septic tanks. It's in my FB Notes:


  3. Oops...I may have misunderstood you. By "romanticize," you may be speaking in general about elevating some topic, and not particularly about sloppy hugs and kisses. :)