By Mike Allen
9 April 2012
Color provokes a psychic vibration.
Color hides a power still unknown
but real, which acts on every part
of the human body.
The spiral circumscribes a center, but no limits.
Nothing held there and
nothing there that desired to be held.
The populace falls up,
shedding confinements of skin and shadow,
riding the inverse surge of gravity
as light and line.
To yearn for flight
is to fall into forever,
every landing a new abyss.
Before his century arrived
he abandoned numbers for art,
abandoned a wife for a mistress,
abandoned a mistress for a wife,
till he at last found a companion
who could withstand deepest space.
The more frightening the world becomes
the more art becomes abstract.
He refused the most sure sanctuary,
hands extended, again and again,
promising escape to America.
He brushed them all away,
not trusting the beautiful void
to seek him out once more if he fled.
A human telescope aimed
at an angle no other could perceive,
focus adjusting over decades,
foregrounded first in the fey realms,
noting the tiny stars that crawled
through river flows
and couples in love.
Yet these lights shone from nowhere close.
The vast distance apparent
as he bent his lens.
His gaze rose through the shapes
behind the world,
the aggressive disputes
between entities without boundaries,
fields of mud and blood and blue
warring on the skins
of creatures without faces
seen in perilous closeup.
For so many years
those hostile clouds blocked his view.
Yet he had to strain further,
never dared stray too far
from his vantage—even
when the Bolsheviks took his home,
when the Nazis shut his school,
he only ran as far as Paris
and stayed put when the Nazis joined him.
The calming void
came to him each time he closed his eyes.
Those stars were letters swimming at creation's edge,
glyphs larger than galaxies,
moving over and under and around one another,
an endless ever-changing text,
new epics written with each shift in space.
He strove to read them,
captured in frustration on his canvas
mere words, snatches of calligraphy,
fragments of a cosmic alphabet.
When his own colors began to fade,
huddled by the wood stove,
hands afire with a vision of two great towers,
posts for a gateway to emptiness policed by ghosts,
he recognized he might, before his soul
broadcast out into the dark,
transcribe a single sentence.
It would have to be enough.
Perhaps the letters aren't in proper order.
Perhaps no one born since
could piece the map together,
place galaxies true in their quadrants,
connect the constellations.
But walk the ascending spiral.
Storms of shape and hue rain tremors
somewhere parsecs deep behind your eyes,
yet still electric, urgent,
spurring you to climb,
to slice through the harness of gravity
and fall into the codex written
at the boundary of time.
Color is the key. The eye is the hammer.
The soul is the piano with its many chords.
The artist is the hand that sets
the soul to vibrating.