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(04/23/52 - xxxx / Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

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Missive For Darkness As Vocation, William Hawkins In Mind

[after viewing a film clip of the American
self-taught artist, William Hawkins]


How would he depict it, your
great sorrow now,
even a corner of it?

Perhaps
forge on, find a
photo, a horse
to paint, as in the film,

then busy himself with the making
of it, then see how the belly is too much,
needs to be thinned, a back haunch
trimmed to size,
a concise seizure of eye and paint
dependent upon hands,
a monumental concern which arights,
or at least, perspectives one's own suffering
amidst, against,

or, in the
teeth of daily concerns
taken on as ultimate-form,

gives visual commentary,
response in an image-horse
painted upon cast off wood,
backyard ruin put to good uses
with kindness extended in
the hammer's claw, crows near
the barred door, and, with meds
providing limit to dulling descents,
you may find again that desire to plunge
further/deeper, deeper still, into the muck
and magic of the shorter days
given in winter, in the long nights
generously dumped without
portion control upon the human.

Hawkins, elder of the American tribe, worn,
no, softened at edges apparently fortified,
fortifying vision and metal, painted on,
worked those objects of art making,
occupied himself with familiars,
and allusive smears,
serving now and ahead who
ancestrally will partake of his offering,
be held/healed in their beholding,
nuanced in cloud swatch,
land swath tumbled.

And you, too, do that,
still here, have helped bring
him out to me, to others,
an inner imperative; a torment,
it urgently insists that you continue on
within the maelstroms hopefully soon
to blow themselves out while tending
to your allotted concerns.


I once, your other darkness, quoted Hopkins to you,
'seasons of dryness, ' in the bitter pitched midst
his discovery, 'What I do is me, for that I came, '
not a text for self worship but, rather, an assent
to keep world woe personally felt in that greater
perspective, making poems from orphan woe,
from ever furtive grace which eludes then surprises
in bleakest place, sudden, parses newly in the
greener green of things while pleading still,

'Lord, send my roots rain.'


The shorter light, the extended nights of cold and
star-bright questions, may cast clumsy net forward
into what it all might mean to fretted you, to me,
stretched, though I will not thrust these words any
longer upon your pen or paint but make offering
with thanks for your own work to feed us through
the eyes, perhaps time to mount that Hawkins horse
and soldier on or to fall off again, gain Damascus
perspective yet, from one's back watch vision
distort the massive horse into God receding into
necessary darkness foregoing image in order to
see what may form in the spreading dirt,

what resurrection there is in the smell of paint.

Submitted: Saturday, December 10, 2011
Edited: Sunday, December 11, 2011


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