A New Writing Home Substack

A New Writing Home Substack

June 02, 2024

I'm writing on Substack now. If you're here for the words, follow along there. I will keep the Blog portion of my website to keep everyone informed about art happenings and newsletter essays. 


From Beyond the Sea

In the winding narrow streets near one piazza
or another, an art store, dimly lit
its dusty shelves filled 
with thick glass jars –
a candy store for painters
with offerings of pigments
purloined earth – raw umber, yellow ochre
heavy metals – lead white, cadmium yellow
this one, pulverized gemstone
that one, so deadly a bacteria 
it turned Adriatic soil blood red.

Zecchi, I went there as if on pilgrimage 
and bought these precious powders.
Twenty years later, and I haven’t made a single brushstroke.
The colors captive in their original plastic bags
with tared weights written in flowing, Florentine script.  

I could grind pigment into a finer dust
with any number of mortars and pestles I’ve collected
this one hewn from marble, 
that one, carved from volcanic rock. 

I know to separate egg yolk from white, 
pass yolk from palm to palm to dry it 
then puncture its skin with my needle 
and let the viscous yellow drain from egg sac.

I could mix yolk with sangue di drago,
the preserved red tears of the dragon tree 
pair purest color with egg and paint the walls.

Like cook, chemist, sorcerer, alchemist
my materials are simple, capable 
like dough, like gold.  

Ultramarine Blue –
I bought the smallest vial.  
I still have it.  
If I opened it, I might proceed to cover everything in sight
with a blue from beyond the sea.