Rochelle Owens: Color Pool in Umbria, in Memoriam Al Held

1

 

First a question

then an outline

is it an anatomical form

 

the monumental painting

is it bearing a signature

and are the letters blurred?

 

Again the question

the monumental painting

is it an anatomical form

 

a form of optical effects

of peculiar power

is it bearing a signature

 

and are the letters blurred?

 

2

 

A dead man in a pool

closely and intimately the smell

of chlorine

 

dead in the swimming pool

of his Umbrian Villa

gorgeous the stone work

 

painted tiles medieval ruins

the drowned artist’s passion

his rural Eden

 

monumental the golden mosaic

the giant Cyclops

the gleaming brutal eye

 

splintering sunlight grapevines

fields of sunflowers olive groves

the drowned artist floating

circling drifting round and round

his rural Eden

a color pool of aquamarine

 

a dead man’s float

the full sweet lips open

 

Incredible the beauty

of the Umbrian maid a girl of fifteen

a farmer’s daughter

 

the muscles of her back

spirally arranged her honey-tone hands

slipping under layers of water

 

the drowned artist floating beyond

further and further

moving in circles diagonals

 

ovals rectangles squares triangles

moving beyond the honey-tone hands

further and further

the drowned artist seized

 

seized by Cyclops the giant

jittery energy the body of work

is work of the body

 

drifting geometries

 

3

 

Incredible the beauty

of the Umbrian maid a girl of fifteen

on her knees

 

moving in circles

polishing the marble floor

a farmer’s daughter

 

singing ‘amore mio amore mio’

the marble floor sparkling

smiling at her reflection

 

the full sweet lips open

In the afternoon

sipping Umbrian wine

 

tearing off the wing of

a roast pigeon a breast vein

as thick as a finger

 

4

 

Everyday Disturbances

in Umbrian farm country

 

sipping white wine

the faythful cut their tongues out

 

it is possible that a discarded wallet

holds the beggar spellbound

 

overzealous crushing the grapes

dangerous and violent the fruit

 

when the fish gasped Jesus laughed

the full sweet lips open

 

pulling off the skin of the fish

like a glove hearing a mourning dove

 

succulent the fillet rolled

rapturous the tongue of the monk

 

the volume of the fish sea water

spilled on the putrefied heart

 

NOTE. At age 76, the American artist Al Held (1928-2005) was found dead in his villa swimming pool near Camerata, Italy. It is believed that he died of natural causes.

More of Rochelle Owenswork, with plentiful commentaries, appears here and here on Poems & Poetics.]