Rothko Contemplating Suicide
"The reason for my painting large canvases is that I want to
be intimate and human."
Of all the images imprisoned within, I want to
paint the fields of colour, Orange and Tan, which
open to warm space like sunflower doors, like
reams of light, like folded robes pounded and
saffron dyed. Work of the eye is done, said
Rilke, now, Go and do heart-work. The brush is
only an extension of the hand, sight a mirror of
need, as the huge canvas becomes a burden
to carry but still, to gaze is something more
than to mourn; a childhood plagued by czarist
troops slaughtering Jews, a Cossack’s whip
striking my face—these forms to be
enveloped within; pools of emotion to plunge
into / tragedy, ecstasy, doom / as life flows
onto the kitchen floor, thin washes of red, the
razor slice a soft-edged opening into the last
broad intimacy of something I don’t
Virginia Barrett’s work has most recently appeared, or is forthcoming in The Writer’s Chronicle, Narrative, Poetry of Resistance (University of Arizona Press), New Mexico Review, and Forage. She received a 2017 writer’s residency grant from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of Taos, NM. Her chapbook, Stars By Any Other Name, was a semi-finalist for the Frost Place Chapbook Competition sponsored by Bull City Press, 2017. She holds an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and a MAT in Art from Rhode Island School of Design.
The Ekphrastic Review
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