2 November 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 3

Seminars in Art

It is stormy and rainy, and that makes the calm inside even greater.
– Vincent Van Gogh

Still Life with Orange

One mother used to boil orange rinds in sugar for hours to form a leathered candy. When her daughter was released from Dachau, she vowed no tears. Then the soldier tore the skin of an orange. Today, I read in the Encyclopedia of Birthdays that orange is a calming color for those born in April. I can't paint my walls this spring without picturing a mother boiling sweets for silenced tongues. I place my compositions in the corner. People think it isn't risky to be a satellite. My god, what I've never seen.

Line as a Narrative Factor : A Conversation With Myself, then Van Gogh

In defense of the curvilinear, I will begin nude. Mouths have attached and detached. His palms make a lasting imprint here. I've never really visited inside there.

Examining The Three Graces, her neck arches. One theorizes she is weighed down in shame. It is the weight of an invisible rib. Tomorrow, I will begin to exercise. When you draw me, tell the truth. My form has appeared for centuries and others will know if you lie.

I have decided to forgive my hips and already my posture improves. I will dream of you tonight, Vincent. For heaven's sake, I'll tell you, I'm beautiful.

Spontaneous Creation, Easily Achieved

In the Concise Field Guide to the Atmosphere, you are not mentioned. I consult stolen texts. After I discovered your ears on the Oregon coast I knew you could really hear me. This morning arrived as a bright heat. The newspaper withered in our driveway. In the shade, I fingered your ears in shell-form and told you how much I love Monmartre, your relationship with grey. When I finally look up it is pouring.

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About the author:

Jess Burnquist's poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Clackamas Literary Review, Natural Bridge, Hayden's Ferry Review, Locuspoint, and Oranges & Sardines. Jess currently teaches high school English/Creative Writing in Tempe, Arizona, and is an instructor for Arizona State University's Young Writer's Program. She resides in a suburb of Phoenix with her husband, son, and daughter.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Jess Burnquist at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 3, where "Seminars in Art" ran on November 2, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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