YOU IN YOUR SEA COSTUME — Robin Morrissey
This is a study of you as the sea.
This is a way of seeing your
surface reflect the depths from
whose waves roll
reveries & loneliness;
where I see my watery smallness
implicated in vertiginous outlooks,
small structures, high cliffs,
manic romantics in
projections of light.
Paint is the prefect of perfect,
and unlike the murky
gray green at the end of my street
I visit with my interior-wrecked
mouth smeared to
prefer not to
remember the night
before. You, I
No mere lovely purple grey sublimities
that contrast warm hues at clean
horizons, your sea is a game of history.
Last night at Lake Michigan
a small group of settlers set fire to sticks
and spun them.
Last night on Lake Michigan
David and I saw a shooting star. A big
one, that trailed its long sparkling trail
Last year on Lake Michigan writers
included you in video essays we
watched in our Poetics of Breakthrough
Longing registers in the quiet of
seven am Albion Beach.
Sitting happens there, occasionally.
Some early mornings David’s professor
swims out, dipping a thin
body into the opaque grey forty degree
Life is smudged on grass, sand, in the
brick buildings at the edge of the sand.
The brush-smear of bird above
whose mouth of foam sea green hair
blue blur of human eye
sees the snaking ribbons of marine
registers water and earth inside
the ecology of indeterminacy
of form, color, shade, light, thoughts like water
that stream into fantasies: embellished headdresses, seaweed boas,
kingdoms of sand.
The sitter looks at you looking at the sea
in your Agony of
Sitting By The Sea. In your mania you are forced to look at every
white cap and solar glare, each white napkin or gray shadow
floating on its surface
where your sable dipped cream-
covered tip places these objects into the phenomenal world.
This is a study for those for whom
ascetic as starlessness
harbors invisible worlds.
In the black your mind places
blobs of rose madder, burnt umber.
You have made life in ochre at the edge of night.
Office of the Heart.
In the middle of this dark study you see it:
This intimacy placed in your
like an invisible string
that’s been held out
to you this whole time.
The painting of the prisoner gazing at a seascape.
This act of looking under the sun-facing faux blue
crisis leading to what is pictured already:
the mind recognizing itself.
Robin Morrissey, MFA, teaches interdisciplinary first year seminar at Columbia College Chicago and is an MA Literature candidate at Northwestern University.