Jackson Pollock and Other Poems by Abigail George

Still Shining

Artists on artists! Read and flow with the words that Abigail George has created on historical artists. Sure to entrance and entertain!

Jackson Pollock

I stand in front of the door, with a kind of awe in my heart
and knock. But there is no answer. I borrow other mother’s
children like other people borrow the sun. I stare too
much at this swirl of tuna fish on a cracker. I don’t know
what to do with my hands. I live in an autumn house during
the summer, and during the winter I live in a summer
house filled with scattered leaves, and waking, and thoughts.
And I say, I know you, I know who you are to my reflection
as I pass it by in the street, in the window as it greets me.
The art talks back to me in a woman’s high-pitched voice.
It moans at me to get back to work, or, that her back is
killing her. Come with me to the day when I was a boy, when
I was a fish, when I was a ghost, when I was a kimono. I dance
with wolves. I kill like a ruffian. I swim like a glimmer. My
eyes are as black and void as a black hole. I dream of the
universe, and it dreams of me. There is always going to be
departure and memory, desire and the painstaking fall of gravity
for every mute grain of sand lost in the fractured wind,
The woman flows in the wind, and her hair tumbles down
her back. I have dreamed of this sad woman for a long time.
I have this image of her as a poet. I see her inhale the stars,
with a kind of awe, gathering them to her soul with a kind of
awe, and she twists and turns in the wind like she’s a magic
dart on fire. Her face is pale and interesting-looking, and her
limbs are long and there’s something delicate about her entire
being. In another life, perhaps she was a painter like me. I
bleed for her. I bleed for her in my country. I bleed all across
my canvas for her. I spell the divine in symbols, trying to
read her mind. All female poets are sad in their own way. It is
a hot day. I eat chicken in a stew with carrots and green peas
swimming in a kind of meat tea. And when I go to work, this
women is always at the back of my mind. I think of how her
inner beauty frames her face as she sits at the kitchen table and
writes her verses much in the same way Dickinson did. She has
a star in her mouth. A star is born in her mouth, and it kisses
everything that her blue wrist touches. I know that all she’s known
is grief and loss, and I want to tell her to come to me. To come
to me. For I have known grief and loss in this world too.
One day they’ll invent onions that don’t make you cry, in
the same way that they invented the television. Nobody can
tell me anything about pain and suffering. I know them well.
Those strange bedfellows. The dart is in the air. Even the arrows
in her hand are on fire. The flame that she carries in her heart, I
carry in mine. The flame that kisses her hand, kisses my own.
And sometimes I call her Emily, and sometimes I call her Virginia.
And sometimes I dream of hell, and the four horsemen of the
apocalypse. And I reach out in the dark for her, but no one is
there to return this thin needle of desire. Only the sky, only this
key to nightfall. And I wonder if she realises it is summer outside
my door, and springtime in my step as the light hits the curtain
in my bedroom. I get up. There’s a day’s work to be done. I think
of taking a lover, but there’s a day’s work to be done. The sun is
out and high in the sky. Clouds manifest like chapters and parts.
Her sun is a carpenter. Mine is king. King of the wakeful Atlantic.

John Updike

He writes. He writes. He writes. He writes. And it feels
as if he is writing to me. There’s the letting go of sadness,
the letting go of emptiness, of the swamp ape in the land.
Lines written after communion, and as I write this, I am
aware of growing older, men growing colder. And this
afternoon, the dust of it, the milky warmth of it loose like
flowers upon me fastening their hold on me, removes the
oppression that I know from all of life. Youth is no longer
on my side. The bloom of youth. Wasteland has become a
part of my identity. I am a bird. A rejected starling. To age
sometimes feels as if you are moving epic mountains. Valleys
that sing with the force of winds, human beings, the sun.
And he is beautiful. And he is kind. And he is the man facing
loneliness, and the emptiness of the day. And I am the woman
facing loneliness, and the emptiness of the day. But how
can you be lonely if you are surrounded by so many people.
I want to be those people, if only to be in your presence a
little while longer. Death is gorgeous, but life is even more so.
I have become weary of fighting wars. Of the threshold of
waiting. And so, I let go of solitude at the beach. I see my mother’s
face in every horizon. She is my sun. And the man makes
a path where there is no path before. The minority of the day
longs for power. The light reckons it has more sway over
the clouds. And there’s ecstasy in the shark, in his heart with
a head full of winter. Freedom is his mother tongue lost in
translation of the being of the trinity. Tender is the night.
The clock strains itself. Its forward motion. Its song. Its lull
during the figuring of the daylight. He’s my knight but he
doesn’t know it. He makes me forget about my grief, loss, my loss,
the measure of my grief. Driftwood comes to the beach and
lays there like a beached whale. Not stirring, but like some
autumn life, something about life is resurrected again, and the
powerful hands of the sea become my own. Between the grass
and the men, there is an innocent logic. I don’t talk to anyone,
and no one talks to me. It is Tuesday. Late. I think you can
see the despair in my eyes. The kiss of hardship in my hands.
It always comes back to that, doesn’t it somehow. The hands
The hands. The hands. Symbolic of something, or other it seems.
Wednesday morning. It is early. After twelve in the morning,
and I can’t sleep. For the life of me I can’t sleep. Between the
two of us, he’s the teacher. There is a singing sound in his voice.
I don’t know why I can’t read his mind anymore. There’s
confusion in forgetting that becomes a secret. Almost a contract
between two people. And when I think of him, I think of love
and Brazil, love and couples. And there’s a silent call from a
remote kind of land, and ignorance is a cold shroud. Some
things are born helpless in a world of assembled images, and
how quickly some people go mad with grief (like me), dream
of grief (like me), sleep with grief on their heart (like me). Speak
to me before all speech is gone. This image, or perhaps another.
His face is made up of invisible threads. Each more handsome
than the last. And my face becomes, turns into the face of love.

Georgia O’Keeffe

There’s going to be an invasion in June. Some kind of
prehistoric flash bathing in tension’s balancing hours.
Depth is not a bad place. Rain and air. The brides of society.
See the swarm’s exposure. The fabulous ochre. The wife’s
permanent body. The smile’s agony in the playing fields.
The poet is a shell. Tasting like clean straw that blooms
and blooms and blooms. This is the work of grownups. To
nurse the dancing shrouds, and to live in suburbia is both
interesting and vague, and words are like a river to a
visual artist. There is a bonfire in my fingers, in my journal,
in missionary work, in the firm roar of the waves. And
the face of fear is like silk. There’s lethargy growing near
the water found in wild places. A scream has fallen into a
cage and cannot get out for some reason. The bones are
lovely there for they have found paradise. My mother, she
licks the chicken bone expertly biting into the white flesh,
the dark meat. In the little hospital they have cancelled
the intimacy of thanksgiving. And in my throat, there is a
fire-breathing dragon that uses its lungs as a weapon. And
days turn into afterthoughts, when all I am thinking of is
the man, or, the work, or, the writing of this poem that
pushes away the pulse of broken heavy water’s darkened
progress. And the bonfire is now the curator of dreams. Visions
turn into the cold, and the cold is a veil over my head. It is
night air, the burning bush, Moses in the lonely wilderness.
I am frozen in the decay of the wild, and the dragon is numb
now. It says nothing. I say nothing. I seem to fear nothing
after all. I am not that young anymore. Not that fashionable
young thing. The older I get, the more responsible I become.
The less of love I have in my life. The more people I lose to
death, to death. You are too cold and accomplished, you have
the body and tongue of a vampire, and there’s a hidden sadness
in your existence. The grocer is barren, barren. The butcher a
brute. It is this love, your love of flowers that saves me.
Trees are free, but I don’t feel free. I feel overwhelmed and
captured by the bonfire. It protects me. Veil, and hats are raised.
The magician is touched and old, but I love him still. There
is a quiet respect there. Any daughter would love her father if
there was a code involved. Every thing looks different in the
light. I took my notebook outside and watched the child at
play. His observations became my own. I could feel the despair
of the day in the white sacrifice of the sun. trees stained ancient
and green and part of the rain’s domain. And I turned my body
over to God. Found the solitude in childhood again. The wonder
of growing, the power in gaining knowledge, the vigour of birth
and ghostly stain, how vital the marriage of creative minds is.
And the weedy grass obscures my vision of the addict in me.
The dead have forgotten my flesh and blood, my hair and roots
and the lines on my face have become like empty fields. There
are the hours like the sea, the sigh in the loneliness of the complex.
Dogged hands, dejected and narrow sky seen from my bedroom
even the courage here seems to be a church that has a kind of
primitive stiffness in the joints. There’s a miserable failure for you.


Abigail George

2 thoughts on “Jackson Pollock and Other Poems by Abigail George

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