Take the horizon line, for example
that marks the limit of sight.
I spend much of my writing time seeking the horizon line. I know that there is no such line but I see the line when I look up from small blocks of text and squint at the sea. To write prose poems is to resist the horizon line—
to seek thick thin straight curved broken wavy lines among crumpled pages.
I work with little ink in my pen and hardly make a mark.
I shade squares while I wait
for the phone to ring. I draw boxes while
I listen to a lover
complain about his bowels. I draw
circles inside boxes. I divide
circles into quarters; I add
a circle to each quarter;
like the carpet pages of Irish monks,
mean to bewilder evil thoughts.
. This line is rational.
. This line is irrational.
The line break is hesitation or resistance or acquiescence
or a tiny rip in the mesh of a screen door.
Lines may multiply as cracks across the surface of an old painting
or lines may measure and slice like a butcher’s cleaver.
K’s aberrant periods revoke transparency.
This must be done with a brush, but a brush,
soft at the point,
causes such uncertainty in the touch of an unpracticed hand
that it is not possible
to make a last dark certain
kneeling beneath a table
to cover the underside
with blue crayon
this was drawing was movement of the arm back
and forth across
pine boards / no sky
no star / arm / back blue / forth blue
The first broad aspect of a thing is that of color patch red like thyme red like thistle
red like nettle red like heather as a patch
of red flannel carries the first memory of
to make secret blue / to make a secret blue surface
late afternoon, September, the smell of chalk dust,
the smell of an overripe banana
and Sam popping gum in time to “Black Magic Woman”
I saw “negative space”
saw that triangle between the curve of a
hip and an arm
another triangle between spread legs
I drew the contours of an emptiness and a body emerged
the world was charged with negative space
spatula-bearing body was an interruption in negative space
my sister, working the cherry pitter,
was a wheezing rupture in negative space
lying in bed,
the body was breach in negative space
Make black more precious than a rival’s crimson.
What I learned from Goya’s black—
to light anti-clerical candles against black walls.
What I learned from Manet’s black—
to scrape the mirror’s back.
What I learned from Matisse’s black—
to creep downstairs in the middle of the night and exchange blue silk for
What I learned from Reinhardt’s black—
that the black is not black but yellow and sometimes purple.
What I learned from Dickinson’s black—