Poetry (Undergraduate)

in #12.1/Blog/McKinney 2012 Winners

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?