Eight Poems
Elizabeth P. Glixman

Painting 1

We live in the wilderness,
I walk the top of wetness
Snow shoed and gray
The hidden light behind the clouds
drapes across your eye.
Above our heads the sun shifts
in a Rembrandt painting—
The one no one has seen.
You are at my side dressed in purple shadows
My body umber, red brocade, and silk damask,
There are no trees
Only crosses waiting for demise.
I see the hawk above
The paint knife shines on his wing,
your hand on my dress, our molecules
collide. I am the Jewish bride
Or the Girl in Red, not born yet
It is unclear.
Vermeer is new.

Painting 2
Bathsheba in Blue

Bathed in golden chiaroscuro
I wait.
Come waltz with me while I,
Bathsheba, read of treachery,
Uriah won’t mind
He is dead.
Dance with me in darkness and light
In the thick impasto of secret lust.
Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son has arrived
Dance with me I plead.
Christ forgives, is the homecoming still.
Preach serenity
in our bed, in the mirror in the
Bold strokes of forgetting
Infinite light on possibility
Experience without thought.
The Girl Reading a Letter stands
looking away from geography.
I am Bathsheba in blue,
The letter, what does it say?
Vermeer won’t tell.
I am Bathsheba in blue
And the light falls,
on words.


Painting 3
Spirit & Matter

In this painting spheres draw
near in our room,
Pulled into one point perspective.
I observe the patterned floor
And crinkled maps that pull us
To travel the speed of light,
Endless private spaces.
Before my gaze.
The eternal flame is dusted and still,
Standing unclothed,
The material is spirit.
Here the story of our love begins—
A face in the mirror above a bed,
Or clothed hands playing wild
Music lessons,
glowing in morning light.
I am begging
Undressed behind my veil.
Life is measured
By the touch of your fingers on my arm,
By the taste of your bitter tongue on my lips.
We do not know the inadequacies of possession.
Your merchant’s hat is covered with fur, the
rim of its shadows keeps us
From revelation of what we have become.

Painting 4
It Is All This Now

I see the world has altered
As the saints weep,
Calvinism appears,
Other worldly grandeur lost,
Contemplate the white walls
And the light that wraps eyes inward
In the mathematical equilibrium
of balanced stillness.
Masters Guilds prevail.
Corporate business is the bold illumination
Goodness surrounds The Syndics of the Clothmaker’s Guild,
Men sit proudly bourgeois
With self-portraits on walls.
The patron saint of art has arrived
Posterity deserves documentation.

Painting 5

Static hums whirl in our throats
There is nothing to digest
at the table but blankness
Until the fruit arrives
William Kalf-Jan Davidsz de Heem the hosts—
Still lifes—
Banquets beyond recognition.
the painting’s foreground is juicy,
Pomegranates with gel seeds
Slim, and slit yellow grapes,
Little breakfasts.
Ham, bread and beer
Pearls on velvet glisten.
Silver trays,
Pigs dressed, fowl
Edged in curves and cutouts, dazzling!
Rabbits hang, their fur is warm
Palpable, bloody.
Hot roundness
No lungs bellow from the dead
Framed in flowers.


Painting 6
The World as Art

We can become new
as the world around our bed alters.
Come to me.
The Girl in Blue is static,
I can turn my limbs,
move to see the known universe of earth—
Cartography eclipsed.
I twirl space on my finger,
play with caffa, Vermeer’s father satin
Spins like a silk worm.
Vermeer wants to paint me again
I have no time to pose,
I travel to you beyond the city square.
We can go east or west or stay in between.
All has changed
It is science we seek
to cut all the notions that keep us from ourselves
directly observed.
Empirical evidence.
Simple experiment.
You are the bridge that binds the worlds
East and west.
I take satin in my hand, leave Holland behind
to fly out of the confines of interiors that
do not end,
I am the bird with palette knife reflection
on my wings. There is freshness in the sea air
The herring is alive underneath the sea—
No one can stop decorating.
With faith, even the ocean prays


Painting 7
The Bride

The Jewish Bride is gilded ochre dirt
devoid of clear sobriety,
There is no church
no temple that will make her sterile.
And reason cannot make her rich
Curved and full there is life
She cannot explain.


Painting 8
And So It Is

We are in a room with a mirror
far from Bathsheba or Vermeer.
It is all new to come out of the shadows
Collected in bridges that arch the river.
Landscapes I have fled—Van Ruysdael made.
In the mirror we are
the small figurines of paintings—
We lay diagonal across our bed,
Under a microscope staring
At space—Telescopic Eyes
Science ends in our poetry.

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