Poetry 2014 / Volume 45

Portrait of the young man… — Joyce Janca-Aji

Has it not occurred to anyone
that Monet might have done just as well
if he counted fence posts

or lined up all his shoes
instead of painting haystacks?
That his art was no so much

perspective as lack
of something to do with his hands?
Or that for Van Gogh, certain hues

of cobalt squealed at too high a pitch
when he painted and it was a choice
between the purity of refracted light

and the purgatories of sound?
And what about Bosch and Brueghel
and the claustrophobic closets of vision

not uncommon among those who must live
on margins of land reclaimed from the sea?
My son plucks jellyfish from construction paper.

He frees demons from lead that has cooled to a point,
from virgin reams of a bright white not of this earth.
Who says he will not be misunderstood

to be an artist, when he is simply trying
to assume the undertaker’s ease in collecting the bodies
that have fallen from the safe havens of the imaginary?

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