Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tim Keane: Two Poems

after Robert Corless                                                                                                                               
Untitled painting by Robert Corless

are those inky dendrites colluding with tender nettle?
is the daubed, swampy pool-tide opposed with itself,
drained while it fills the space, and cresting while it recedes?
are the besotted strokes and the entangled cords, coupling
in the moment's enclosed whoosh, threading their own back-pedaling motion,
and is it a barnacled trestle, is it a brush-map of future flight patterns?
is it the outlawed, black-patterned encrusted flower
and the trick of ebony, wearing fine, melted red and blue residuum
at this arrested opening, then a thrust, leaping south into the ensuing black reversal?
is it a spring-ploy set in grim winter, circular and whole, then collapsing, angled,
at sin's synchronous cue, to arc, spin, halt, turn, fondle and scrum,
is it a coal-go, and an oil-streaked downdraft and a whirligig blotch that stains
and darkens another turnabout?

*   *   *

Manor Tree, Eddie Johnson 1964
The Manor Tree
after Eddie Johnson

Black thorny spindles spoil the cold grey pitch,
and spindly and taut lines bind one frozen branch to another.

A squall coats a skewed-V and the splayed trunk resembles
the exhausted legs of a shadowed nude, a bark of pale torso,
skin swathed in hoarfrost, sated, prone, in a sheeted
bed of snow, snug, drowsy, under a capacious billow.

Is it a compromised view on a dozing lover? Or the capsized
profile of a startled hare, hunkered, breathing desperate breaths?

Sleep to be sure, a light snore, by the manor tree, as the squall’s
gauze settles down, or settles in, and on, to no-one, no-thing,
and then to what? Then end of gray, the end of black in winter's
gradual, blinding white erasure.

*  *  *  

Tim Keane is the author of the poetry collection Alphabets of Elsewhere (Cinnamon Press). His award-winning writing has appeared in Modern Painters, Shenandoah, Denver Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Reader (UK) and numerous other publications. He teaches writing and European literature at BMCC, CUNY, in lower Manhattan.  web site: www.timkeane.com

The poem Bolero and the Corless painting first appeared in Sleepingfish in 2013 and are reprinted here with the permission of  the author, Tim Keane 

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