Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 7 . . .

Ekphrasis ("Number 31, 1950")

To be the grace in lightning – spatter it as if
its calligraphic balance mattered – does it?
Surrendering is incremental: first I ride the black,
the shiny automotive paint that ought to have
shellacked a Packard, not a canvas: ride it like
a locomotive turning into cataract – each inky
shoot of spray now singularly makes its way

in spasmed correspondence with itself throughout
the splay – this neural network: is it forest? –
quantum leap? – is it weeping on an astronomically
unfathomable sweep and scale? It’s like a whale:
a flushed completion – large availing mesh of flesh
that starts and ends in symmetry, and knows the air
and sea. I swoop back in and ride the white:

what’s to become of me? – tatted into foamy lace
I leak into the tiniest of spaces: somehow seeping
into densities of blotchy greens and tans, still
caught completely in the span of this recoiling
and embroiling ocean: something says that this
is rife with death as well as life, but I don't know
it’s anything: is this the prize? Not to know,

and take it – take in every atom of its size?
It goads the senses too intensely. It would need
a god who never sleeps to keep up with its steeps,
imploding flows, corrosive throes, all blessedly
and damningly exposed. I suppose that’s how
this Jackson Pollock business goes. Too rich
a currency. No wonder he drove drunk into a tree.

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—click here and here to see Pollock's painting: "Number 31, 1950"

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by Guy Kettelhack

Guy Kettelhack has authored, co-authored, or contributed to more than 30 nonfiction books. His poems have been featured in many online and some print journals. Books 1 and 2 of Soho Poems & Drawings About Drawings (collaboration with Norman Shapiro) can be found at ufemisms.com. He lives in New York City.

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© 2007 Guy Kettelhack