#70-2: Rothko Room- Dupont Circle 1970
The room on 21st Street was always mysterious,
luminous, dark, insistent.
And in his final months it could have been asked
of the artist what he was doing in marking his last
days and hours, he, in a sense, sitting on that bench
suspended in space with the colours coming off or
just falling in with Pollock or de Kooning, losing
or winning an abstract debate, rolled in a bar
in the 50s.
Or could he have been trapped by some beaten
down beat notion or desperate song or other drinking
story where these motions between the spaces
were unresolved, lost in colours or held in reserve
in some unknown cavern by the side of his road?
Somehow bereft, perhaps scheming day by day
with a honed absence and mere drafts of feeling, barely
communicable in a language connected to that lost village
in the Latvian East.
And a cool sun was revealed bright over Washington
in an audible red, exhaling orange, green in the room
somehow muted and barely visible to the view of a
lamentable, confined, intractable state, bright and
most luminous, a child’s Russian language haunting
in its specificity and convolution asking here about
what it might mean in deep America as if to say,
“where’s the poetry” with the poet out of the room.
Suicides turn in upon themselves with extinction
revealed in its altered state and occasionally, perhaps,
like to think of themselves free of death, sociable
and astute despite imaginations failure at the last,
a vacancy in the spirit, the artist lost less form and
formulation, trees of depression assembling
in a fatal ring.
After this, in that room that still sits near the Circle,
was seen wild snow and spirits moving deftly from
the corners and margins there casting the grey shadow
over rarer hues, a deeper wave, a peak on the stretched
canvas indivisible from the brush dipping in a can of
crazed, cheap materials.
Crowded, spacious, intentionally undefined with
dialogues interior but forward, deep, still within
view, incomprehensible but well sprung from
despair, alcoholic, triumphant, opening the sky,
filled with volition, spontaneous, rising, drawing
the sun and darkness, internal in its self-referential
determination, reclusive, restive, peaceful, running
down the gallery wall to this small limitless space.
Removed to his native grounds, sprawled out in
Manhattan, hope and the total absence of hope,
torn from form and colour hard upon him from the
damp of the North Sea as that lost year showed the
artist gone, his form and silence an emblem of a
modern time as the old raw figures of the boulevards
and towns had been expelled at last fleeing from the
foreground, the stark literal banished from a teeming
house, hiding just out of sight now
After a long hiatus and residence overseas John Huey returned the United States and to writing in 2011. Since then he has appeared in numerous on line and print journals as well as three anthologies. His full length collection, The Moscow Poetry File, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. www.john-huey.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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