Poem by Clara B. Jones (USA)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 43
You Painted Your Sailboat Red
for Ben Shahn
The shape of content is prelinguistic
like our eyes meeting across that humid room
where garrulous, groomed, grown-ups shifted stances
chewing morsels of chèvre from Vermont
sipping wine from Chile's verdant stretches
returned from desirable locales
to witness our primitive dance
designed for intimates or strangers
uncomplicated (unlike your theory)
decodable when scanned by others
all members of your Marblehead set
inured to your flirting with young wives
not yet playing a game of risk
for stakes higher than the pleasure of knowing
that a formidable artist found her as pleasant to view
as he might find the ocean next afternoon
when the nature of content was more concrete
than the evening before
removed from your studio and the figures that mattered
a negress in white linen no match for reputation
meaning following form like a rondeau ending on a cynical note.
Clara B. Jones is a retired university professor currently practicing poetry in Asheville, NC. As a woman of color, she writes about the moral dimensions of race, class, gender, identity, and culture. Erbacce, CHEST, and Transnational are among the journals her poems have appeared or are upcoming in. Clara's aesthetics are derived from Wabi Sabi minimalism, and her guiding principles are Intentional Living and restraint without craving. In the 1970s, Clara studied with Adrienne Rich and now studies with the poets Meghan Sterling and Eric Steineger.
Image: "Wine-stained cork" by Ruth Hartnup.
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