Summer 2005


Summer 2005

Jackson Pollock 1912-1956

I wonder sometimes if that final image you left the world,
A car on its roof in the sapling strewn undergrowth,
Was your intended masterpiece, a perfect self-portrait,
Indulgent and tragic, a reaction rather than release?
Or merely an accident of randomly colliding events,
A coincidental and terrible removal of the determination
That punctuated and purged your sub-atomic maps
Dancing so freely in their ordered framed universe?

Did you ever have a choice or was the vital world a binge?
( they said you would have died in a few months regardless ):
But suppose you had not turned back, had not lost control,
Would another fragment of creation’s soul have sparked?
Would another paragraph from an expert have appeared,
One who claimed they understood your infant-like splashing?
Nobody understood, least of all you, nobody knew
What it meant, where all those particles of strange paint went.

I read where someone wrote unkindly of Armageddon and wallpaper,
Disorder and chaos in the trailings of your absurd canvasses,
Preferring to discuss in long paragraphs the boozing and falling apart
Than your astonishing contribution to the world’s art.
I took my departure from your insistence on using what nature had given,
Sitting looking at the radar dishes pointing to the sprawling heavens,
Setting out to discover what drove the heartbeat of creation,
Wandering purposefully through the lea-fields of the ordered universe.

Your intention was to capture the instant ineffable divinity of life,
The momentary entrapment of the vibrating soulstrings
Before they flew into the established conformity of bricks and steel.

America’s heroes don’t smoke anymore, not even on stamps.
I wonder if there is truth in national treasures or treason in the
Heart of a claiming glad public? The image doesn’t fit.

It’s not obvious to me if there was joy for you in the untipped Virginias
Or the malt or even the undulations of the dripping stick you waved
Like the wand of a melancholy maddened magician?
I can only guess they were more than mere acts of attrition,
More than the condition of your mind, I have to believe there was worth.
The reality is you stood up from the parched Arizona clay, looked skyward
And caught something fantastic that compelled your hands to paint,
Paint the way nature intended, to follow the blueprints of God.

Robert McDermott is a secondary schoolteacher of English and Philosophy and has been writing poetry in earnest for about two years. He lives in Dublin, Ireland, is 31 years old and has recently begun to submit and have some success with his poems.


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