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Not many passions take your pants off— painting with oils, reading in the afternoon, other people's bodies. I want to really say something here. I want to be clear.
But just as no two people see the same colors, what you hear is not what I'm saying. Not conversations as much as serial misunderstandings, proximate in space. One considers the dictionary definition of "man." One considers the definition of "woman." One considers arm hair, soft spaces on a hot body.
The obsessive heat-seeking quality of attraction. The paint on my pinkie is for you—a little poison, a little turpentine. The snaggletooth I want to stick my tongue into. This is pigment from a rock, this is pigment from a bug, this is pigment from a bleeding heart, and this is jeopardy.
Passion brought me here, but passion cannot save me. To mix linseed and varnish, to create something is to vanish what was there before. Chroma for fastness, chemistry tricks. Such bold strokes in erasing and framing delicate beginnings.
"During an artist residency in Vermont, I observed the precautions that painters and sculptors took before handling their materials, including switching out of street clothes into studio ensembles. I wrote this about a month before my wedding. Romance was in the air, as were toxic fumes—same thing, no?" —Erika Jo Brown
Erika Jo Brown is the author of I'm Your Huckleberry (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2014). She teaches at the University of Houston and lives in Houston, Texas.
Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-a-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. If you enjoy Poem-a-Day, please consider making a donation to help make it possible.
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