Apr 092016
 

Portrait of Cy Twombly by Fielding DawsonPortrait of Cy Twombly, Fielding Dawson

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Fielding Dawson Portrait of Cy Twombly

your chair looks kinda wobbly
cy twombly

I think you’re an anomaly

you’re practically
sliding off the chair
the window’s
broken by lines in a grid
it’s time to stand–
but sit for another minute
give us your specifics
wait — you don’t care
what you get across
or to whom

large, your hands
rest beside each other whitely,
parallel like piano keys

your shirt’s white
the window behind you is kinda’
sketchy in 1951

loose
yet precise
a small face
full of interest
unstingy
and grungy

a black button
on a worn blue jacket

you might jump up
and draw squiggles
your body’s both curvy and angular

a bit of white sock
usual blue pants
a blue jacket  bits of
brown butcher paper
showing through

your collar’s upturned and
your hair’s a bit of tweedledee and tweedledum

the wood floor is what you were
born for

guess that’s a watch on your left wrist
your shoelaces and the
stripes of your collar–
you were about
little things like that
employing house paint
colored pencil and string
among other things

your acrylics are bright
what did you do at night I wonder
you give us just a smidgen of
what’s in that head of yours

fielding dawson
lifelong socialist
socialized with you
no separation between
the art and the doing
the art and the life

remaining unnoticed you were happy

you broke things down to
build them up again
cy means baby in greek
master in english
which is what you speak

the british family twombly
had a coat of arms which
you may have found alarming

a hands-on man
plain so you could
put it all in the work

triangles all around–
your face
your collar
your crotch
your right leg forming an
acute angle with the chair

things one might not notice
at first–your sagging belt
the pocket on your jacket

legs apart
feet turned slightly outward the way
a man’s supposed to sit

eyes closed or just looking down

the lines of the floor drive the painting forward
as if thrusting you towards us
colorful cartoony one

your shoes shaped and colored violins

bits of purple and green
far away barely seen
make the blue less flat
the painting works against the
flat canvas though it’s semi-abstract

it’s an impression and makes an impression
of cy twombly

will you have coffee with me?
no? you want to get back to your studio…
stand up, walk away, the day awaits

dawson chose the colors of nature for you
you’re off in your head to
a greek isle
a sumerian temple
a grouping of flowers

part of progressive art, you said,
is the complete expression of one’s personality–
you drew in the dark to develop your line
a wobbly line     a kid’s kind of line

I saw you as a baseball player before I knew
your father named you after
cy young
and was
himself
a chicago cubs pitcher

you married a baroness and called your son cy
grew up in virginia     hopped over to rome
in between relocated twice a year
your sculptures as talismans to
guard you on your way

edwin parker cy twombly jr  hey
you influenced basquiat, kiefer, clemente and schnabel–
very cool–
keats and mallarmé appear in your work
rilke and virgil as well
space in your huge canvasses
for them all

influenced by giotto
you painted a blue sky
on a ceiling in the louvre
with sun and planets perhaps
painted over with names of greek sculptors

dawson painted you with
2/3 blue wall behind you
1/3 yellow floor
it’s right proportionately

for your blackboard paintings you
‘sat on the shoulders of a friend who shuttled back and forth
along the length of the canvas, thus allowing the artist to create his fluid continuous lines’

work as a cryptographer for the army influenced what–
your scripts and  pictography?
amazingly, charles olson worked in washington, too

cambodian-french artist rindy sam was arrested after kissing one
panel of your triptych phaedrus, which she smudged with red lipstick.
at her trial she defended her gesture:
‘J’ai fait juste un bisou. C’est un geste d’amour, quand je l’ai
embrasse, je n’ai pas reflechi….’
‘It was just a kiss, a loving gesture, I kissed it without thinking; I
thought the artist would understand….It was an artistic act provoked
by the power of Art.’
‘[ms] sam was fined and compelled to take a citizenship class.’

a frenchwoman stripped in front of your
orpheus’ trip to the underworld
saying, that painting makes me want to run naked.
you were delighted, who else? you asked,
could have that effect? I might add,
especially in houston, texas.

—Ruth Lepson

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Ruth_Web

Ruth Lepson has been poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music for 20 years and has often collaborated with musicians. Frank Carlberg, Noah Preminger, Simon Willson (2 l’s) & she will be making an album this spring of musical settings of her poems. Her new book is ask anyone, from Pressed Wafer, and musical settings of some of the poems will be available on the Pressed Wafer website and on her new website, ruthlepson.com. She’s had poems in Jacket2, Agni, Let the Bucket Down, Big Bridge, spoKe and many other publications.

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  One Response to “Fielding Dawson Portrait of Cy Twombly: Poem — Ruth Lepson”

  1. I like ekphrastic poetry, and this one I like a lot! I lilke the way Ms. Lepson has crammed so much into itl–almost everything but the kitchen sink, as the saying goes.

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