Raising Andy Warhol
This stillness is not like you. This still of you in black and white hides the boy in you I remember as your neighbour at the corner of 20th Century and Pop. Still life. Some may label you Peter Pan of the art world—never sought to grow into a buttoned man.
Stimming in your mother’s kitchen swirled you into a dizzy space of imagination. Days at home in isolation, moving, climbing, exploring your mother’s pantry looking for cans. The casseroles from Campbell’s mixed the tastes of so many mothers—tuna noodle with mushroom soup; chicken divan with cream of chicken, sometimes asparagus, whatever was at hand; and tomato—the king of all that is hamburger pie. The red on the soup label caught your eye—flowing from Camden, home of RCA and other elements of the American dream.
Filling paper with colour when your mother placed a gadget in your hand. Was that a basting brush or did you tease for a butter knife for spreading paint across your palette?
Karsh, your photographer—sits you so differently from the wild of your child. Posing still, you could be a diplomat or philosopher in that suit and tie. You gaze off camera in the chiaroscuro of light from an unknown source. You have no secrets to reveal; everything you imagine is real, just larger than life itself. Your hands, the magic wands of art, though that brush of hair against your paint brush does not hurt to make your portrait appealing. You cast no shadow in this photo—proof positive—you are Pan with lengthy fingers that could dust a disco ball or slit the silk screen of convention
While studying for her MA in English from the Bread Loaf School of Middlebury College, VT, Cynthia Dorfman focused on the relationship between visual art and writing. She applied this interest when she guided illustrators in producing the first Helping Your Child series of booklets for the U.S. Department of Education, where she was a publications director. She is a frequent participant in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery writing program and is an Ekphrastic Review Challenge author. Her ekphrastic poem, “Dangling Woman,” was featured on an episode of The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast.
The Ekphrastic Review
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