Self-Portrait as the Artist Working in the Dark
after Stephen Hannock
Fingers contain the medium,
colours liquid as blood, luminosity
confined by a bell jar, perfect
vacuums all ambidextrous artists
need for manipulating twin brushes,
one each for different blank canvases
stretched beyond breaking, though each
surface reflects something that has never
been seen before: poems acid etched in concrete
where paint will not adhere, a welder's mask
nothing can be seen through, black lights
that images can be seen in only when
sunglasses are affixed, gray light apparent
like a strangeness on the skin, a kind of
living presence no heat source can eliminate
or effect; in the end the artist can only offer
an addict's last days as seen from inside
a medicine chest, time on a soiled platter
offered as if it were a head.
Editor's note: Alan Catlin's poem was inspired by the work of artist Stephen Hannock, whose stunning landscape paintings can be viewed at http://www.stephenhannock.info.
Alan Catlin has been publishing for parts of five decades in little, minuscule, not so little, literary and university publications from the Wisconsin Review to Tray Full of Lab Rats, to Wordsworth’s Socks and The Literary Review among many others. His chapbook, Blue Velvet, won the Slipstream Chapbook Contest in 2017. He is the poetry and review editor of Misfitmagazine.net, an online poetry journal.
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