Friday, August 28, 2009

Choosing Colours

All my paints laid out
like religions in a row
and I slow to learn that
not every one is able
to lead me to truth

of human flesh
or that real prize
the human spirit
begging breath from my canvas

burnt sienna, raw umber, naples yellow
and the blood of alizarin crimson,
life bestowing blood.

I never met my father's brother that I can remember

Uncle Tim left home forever one night
by way of the kitchen window sill
stealthy foot treads across the storm cellar door
“Poor dear boy,” my father would say in fond recollection.
Years later out west somewhere he stayed with us
mum said he made a move on her once when dad was away
said he'd taken up with Mormons for their women
had a couple of kids with successive wives
who I never knew either but I called him from Chicago on a hunch
one time when I was a grown man with a small son of my own
His wife said he was dying
they cut him open for his heart ... sewed him up again
when they saw all the cancer
Days later out in California I drove back and forth
in front of a shabby strip mall, the number on a piece of paper
finally found an alley between two stores
and back behind was a small apartment
all blank and empty beyond the screen door, his wife gone too
I never heard where.