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  • On Club Onyx by Frank Stella
  • J. P. Allen (bio)

I hated abstract art. Our eyes gift us a billion brilliances; why shirk their witness just to stretch some sterile point across a wall?

But then I hiked the trail up Buzzard’s Roost. Smelling blown pines, palming warm rocks, squinting down the valley’s heart where toy barns spread,

hearing above me dark wings name the cliff, I never asked, “what is this landscape of ?” I looked. Full stop. If clouds made elephants,

if cars formed ants, if steeples conjured God, the art was not in them, but me, my brain that pattern-scavenger, atilt, above.

I look from a distance at the black enfolding pool of paint and see inside of it just paint. Full start: creation. Faced with nothing

but a thing, I do what I would do on Buzzard’s Roost. Sit still. Breathe. Live in this. Or, cast a meaning off a sudden edge

and see what echoes back. Or eat my lunch. Or share a selfie, caption: I saw this thing. It wasn’t—once. It won’t be—soon. It was. [End Page 331]

J. P. Allen

J. P. ALLEN’s poems in English appear in Tinderbox, Up the Staircase, After the Pause, and elsewhere. A series of his bilingual micro-stories appears in the book Minificción y Nanofilología (Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2016). He is an assistant editor of The Hopkins Review.



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