Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Imaginary Paintings

Imaginary Paintings
by Lisel Mueller

1. HOW I WOULD PAINT THE FUTURE
A strip of horizon and a figure,
seen from the back, forever approaching.

2. HOW I WOULD PAINT HAPPINESS
Something sudden, a windfall,
a meteor shower. No—
a flowering tree releasing
all its blossoms at once,
and the one standing beneath it
unexpectedly robed in bloom,
transformed into a stranger
to beautiful to touch.

3. HOW I WOULD PAINT DEATH
White on white or black on black.
No ground, no figure. An immense canvas,
which I will never finish.

4. HOW I WOULD PAINT LOVE
I would not paint love.

5. HOW I WOULD PAINT THE LEAP OF FAITH
A black cat jumping up three feet
to reach a three-inch shelf.

6. HOW I WOULD PAINT THE BIG LIE
Smooth, and deceptively small
so that it can be swallowed
like something we take for a cold.
An elongated capsule,
an elegant cylinder,
sweet and glossy,
that pleases the tongue
and goes down easy,
never mind
the poison inside.

7. HOW I WOULD PAINT NOSTALGIA
An old-fashioned painting, a genre piece.
People in bright and dark clothing.
A radiant bride in white
standing above a waterfall,
watching the water rush
away, away, away.

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