Joseph Stella Painting Brooklyn Bridge
In his first painting of it,
lines of force slant this way, then slant that,
flickering a cacophony of blue and white
above a blossom of blood;
while the spine articulates--
in tiny, elegant detail--
the sequenced towers.
Passing this frisson futurisme
in subsequent pictures,
Stella settled to a symmetry
a quintessential modernisme
that became the way he crossed
this bridge every subsequent time
he came to its soaring contradictions--
medieval gothic are its massive piers
and yet the machined-aged cables of steel,
the taut song of its wiring mechanique,
is what lifts our spirits, transports us,
as we walk the interior passage,
unique to this suspension,
a path that makes our walking seem
a transit towards an altar,
an altar that turns out to be
the City of Brooklyn,
a place worthy of worship in its way,
but cruel, ungraspable.
“Only the dead know Brooklyn,”
sayeth the gospel of Thomas Wolfe.
Joseph Stanton is a professor of art history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has published many books of ekphrastic poetry, with a new one scheduled in 2019. His work has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Poetry, Harvard Review, Image, New York Quarterly, and more. Over 500 of his poems have appeared in journals and anthologies. His awards include the Tony Quagliano International Poetry Award, the Ekphrasis Prize, the James Vaughan Poetry Award, the Ka Palapala Pookela Award for Excellence in Literature, and the Cades Award for Literature. Ekphrastic poetry was one of the central concerns of his doctoral research at New York University, and he conducts ekphrastic writing workshops in New York and Honolulu. For more information on Stanton's latest ekphrastic collection see: http://brickroadpoetrypress.com/order-books/things-seen-by-joseph-stanton
The Ekphrastic Review
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