In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Mediterranean, and: Choice, and: Cezanne Triptych, and: Picasso Diptych
  • Sudeep Sen (bio)

Mediterranean

I

A bright red boatYellow capsicums

Blue fishing netsOchre fort walls

II

Sahar's silk blousegold and sheer

Her dark blackkohl-lined lashes

III

A street child'sbrown fists

holding the rainbowin his small grasp

IV

My lost memorywhite and frozen

now melts colorready to refract [End Page 59]

Choice

drawing a breath between eachsentence, trailing closely every word.

JAMES HOCH, "Draft" in Miscreants

I

some things, I knew,         were beyond choosing:

didu — grandmother — wilting               under cancer's terminus care.

mama — my uncle's — mysterious disappearance —             ventilator vibrating, severedsilently, in the hospital's unkempt dark.

an old friend's biting silence — unexplained —   promised loyalties melting for profit             abandoning long familial presences of trust.

devi's jealous heart     misreading emails                   hacked carefully under cover,her fingernails rippingunformed poems, bloodied, scarred —         my diary pages weeping wordlessly —my children aborted, breathless forever.

II

these are acts that enact themselves, regardless —   helpless, as i am,torn asunder permanently, drugged, numbed. [End Page 60]

strange love, this is         — a salving:                                       what medics and nurses do.

i live buddha-like, unblinking, a painted vacant smile —         one that stores pain and painlessness —someone else's nirvana thrust upon me.

some things I once believed in                   are beyond my choosingchoosing is a choice unavailable to me.

Cezanne Triptych

1. The Skulls

The three gods  I worshipare dead.  They starefrom the backs  of their heads,through  the hollowsof their eyes—  their visionleaking from  every fissureand crack on  the cranium.The bone-skin  of these skullsshines like  the breast sheenof a new-born  fish, [End Page 61]

each plate  like scalesrestoring memory  and genealogy—secrets  only fossilskeep alive.  Skulls on wood,on carpet,  on drapery—studies encrypted  likean unwrapped  pyramid of bones,mummies waiting  to be embalmedin oil and graphite—  as I sprinklewater and color  on the shrineof my night gods.

[Based on Cezanne's series The Skulls, oil on canvas/graphite and watercolor on paper, 1890-1906.]

2. The Cardplayers

The deal was done and stamped  on the brown, rough leather

of the parchment. The wooden  table's crooked legs hardly held

its own weight,  let alone the gravity of

smoke, spirit, and connivance.  We held our fists close [End Page 62]

to each other as if in mistrust—  stiff cards in hand

like little rectangular blades  to cut and bleed our lives away.

The future like the present  was dark and unlit, swirling

unsteadily in tobacco stench  permanently embedded

in the wood of the walls,  the furniture, our clothes,

and our hearts. But at least  this was a gamble,

a zone of unsure light,  an unpredictability

to hold onto amid all the grey,  brown, and blue,

cold, deep blue, and more blue.

[Based on Cezanne's Cardplayers, oil on canvas, 47.5 x 57 cm, 1893-96.]

3. Jacket on a Chair

You carelessly tossed  the jacket on a chair.The assembly of cloth

  collapsed in slow motioninto a heap of cotton—  cotton freshly picked [End Page 63]

from the fields—  like fleshwithout a spine.

  The chair's woodenframe provided a brief  skeleton,

but it wasn't enough  to renew the coat'sshape, the body's

  prior strength,or the muscle  to hold its own.

When one peels off  one's outer skin,it is difficult

  to hidethe true nature of  blood.

Wood, wool, stitches,  and joints—an epitaph

  of a cardplayer'sshuffle,  and the history

of my dark faith.

[Based on Cezanne's Jacket on a Chair, graphite and watercolor on paper, 47.5 x 30.5 cm, 1890-92.] [End Page 64]

Picasso Diptych

Head I

My cranium  standsfossilized  andtriangulated  on theblack "T"  of acrucifix.  The blueand white  crescentand head's  hemispheresit askance  in theirbone-sharp  intentions.It was Breton  who hadscripted  the line-breaks, and  the cell'sown narrative.

[Based on Pablo Picasso's Head, paper collage, charcoal, and pencil on card, 1913.]

Head II

My imagination  is cuppedentirely in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-426X
Print ISSN
0032-6682
Pages
pp. 59-66
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-26
Open Access
No
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