Poetry 2nd Place: The Artist and His Admirer (a suite of three poems by the same name)
By Ainsley Pinkowitz
1. The Artist and His Admirer
Allow me to paint a picture of you, my sweet,
Your burning sapphire eyes give you away with the swirl of my brush,
The wood of nature moved by the hand of God
Crafting your visage,
I’ve seen this before.
Scattered portraits of every woman before you
A bend of my knee as effective as casting a blanket over the whole pile.
Would you ever let your eyes scatter from the work in progress
Before the paint dried and fixed them there forever?
I lean back, the hairs of my wig rising in their attraction to your breast,
They tickle but you do not flinch. I wick your eyebrow
And your body draws in to watch the detail unfold upon this canvas.
Not a drop of modesty in the sea.
I am bold, I craft with confidence on my palette,
And fibrous brush and twisting limb scatter this in the figure of a man
Holding you in his arms. Skillfully, my face blooms in oil,
Though your sapphires are well captured in my portrait,
Realization dances in the perk of your cheeks.
You do not need to break your gaze, I paint my own obsidian iris
And in this work we regard each other, as aware in the fiction
The reality that would join us this evening.
2. The Artist and His Admirer
You’re such a sweet man, and such a pity
That by my bosom you are wrapped
Like a handsome curl whose nature makes him twist
Around my slender digits, about my vixen will.
You are my newest toy.
Have you no shame, though you paint with such distinction?
No discipline for anything when your mind has left the brush?
Here the other portraits, crumpled tissue by your feet
While you gild gold within the waves of my image, the goddess.
I lean, you recline, and a timid matrix threads
Between the bristles of your coif and my gown
Your ear against my powdered breast, ah,
Your mind adheres to me while the oil binds our fantastic gaze.
I am the elegant web-walker
On the tightrope between the drapes.
And the gentleman whom I’ve ensnared
Does not even know he’s prey.
His wrist, looped in fine silk, charm woven,
A demure smile, or posh blush, then stronger now the weave.
Another piece, so beautiful, for my collection.
And a painting as well.
3. The Artist and His Admirer
God, how garishly yellow.
Mottled colors along the drapery
As if mold had taken the time to creep and rot the canvas itself
And save me, that red coat
For I am insufferably bored.
Tasked as it happens to capture what once was painted with such feeling
But not in feeling, nor oil, but prose and floral tongue
To somehow draw the meaning from a pair
Of perfect strangers, perfect lovers of each other, a seduction not even spoken at the time.
Bah, to hide her virgin flowers, and the corner of a bed,
As if some genius knew in the wiggle of his brush
That at some university some student in pursuit of wealth as painted
Would have to decode his petty symbols
And gush in words that made the river Seine feel still
For an ironic single letter as compensation
Though each fine ochre stroke to craft such art
Might sum to the time taken for its consideration.
How cruel a game to take an engineer
And ask what did a painter know when painting a painter
Painting the lover at his hip. What was the goal
Of the passionate red, or muted mold?