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Robert Garlitz: Three Poems
Red Angel | Moses | Corners

Red Angel

The gray painting you started, the big
ten-foot wide one—couldn't resist (and you said
I could and should paint on it) —

I traced over and over the red angel
at the top in maroon & then gray & then white
& then white with a pin-point of cobalt

so it looks again much as it did

the thick red horizontal arrow of your grief
shoots through the bowl of a half moon—
that's how you drew the angel—the halo
at the left end, a blacksmith's ring, an eye
waiting for its hook, the tail at the right
end you fanned slightly, just enough, like a chisel

a glyph of a figure—a snow angel kids make
turned into a marvelous pictograph, a weathervane
glyph—in flight now, over a gray river of forsaken
forms—a mute gray landscape of loss, of nowhere, a sky
or heaven with no ground—a mist of confusion,
an unknowable fog—dream—a region of disarticulation—

where rocks get haloed and clustered under
a half moon or bowl—all your motifs here—
the dark gray seed shapes float free—larger now—expansive

but—the cross has been kept out (for now?)—
what do you believe? why put it in? but,
I had to chuckle, it hangs below the painting
on a separate scrap of canvas—a black cross—
two strong brush strokes, the brush loaded—
it turns the whole painting—at least in remembered
imagination—into a sort of huge wide kite—
billowing cloud-banner—hang gliding wing—
in full sail—directionless—wandering—
yet with that black cross of a kite tail—centered—

enough—to ride the winds happily—to dance the light


Moses didn't dare
look a bush in the eye
so it flamed him
until he stopped
in his tracks
not dead but ready.
After that he kept his
eyes on the glance,
checking to see if
the light over
his shoulder would
flare into iron
or soften into water.


Corners being what they are, how
strange no art seems made to mark
their steady patient companionship.

Was Wright our great architect
in his spiral Guggenheim museum
celebrating the corner by making
us feel more its absence for a while
or denying the corner to us and its
terrible and wonderful beauty? And
Hopper, our painter of open streets, late
night and blank building faces. He wanted
to paint light on walls. Corners
remained incidental.

A special art to make corners, to hang
in corners, to stand on corners. As in
here meets there, and I will meet you at,
and We can meet on the.

A joining, a joint, adjacent, a meeting—-
maybe corners already have too much art
and want no special painting or work to
be where they are. They are themselves
strength structural, light divided and planed,
one against another into refraction
and reflection, surface and shadow. Boxes
yes, corners punish and hope,
support us, sustain us, capture dreams,
give us, like ancestors and progeny,
space in which we calmly say, Beauty
come forth, stay with us through the nights
and days. We will make you room.

Poet's Biography:
Robert Garlitz is a Professor of English at Plymouth State College in central New Hampshire. His work has recently appeared in slope, The Sierra Nevada Review, and The Lucid Stone. A painter as well as poet, his work is currently on view at The New Hampton School in New Hampshire.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.