Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry

: craquelure at the interiors :

this common line, a hook and bowline
an underway angle : sounding the deep
figural, radian lip, tiptoes, light in far corners

and us isleted, norfolk jackets landlike :
an irish-amish overlay, chair covers
blanched and everyday folded :
yellow sakura like punk-rock beats
and sharon shannon after happy hours

why the silent moves post facto?
why the tough-texture damage that assuages?
why bolston's quay in noon-day public?

they're up : but still unopened
part of your old square-knot worlds
in a brown-bag lunch : prawn rolls
and sour cream, smiley sticker come off

why the song of songs about love songs?

sounds like post-octavo hope : opinion, scissors
each other lance breaths, teetering
en pointe, no loud bands to dull, senses :

bourbon hair, maple skin : body topography.

Issue 1 | June 2010

Henry W. Leung

Question for a Painter

I start seeing her in Bologna, where she tells me
writing is the highest art: it communicates.
I ask, “And painting?”
She, a modernist, disguises her canvases
under cotton fabrics. She shakes her head:
“Pictures. Who can understand one another?”
Elizabeth Bishop the poet made paintings,
outlined objects like maps in which colors
tug at one another: furniture as empty,
skewed, uncompressed seats where
people are not, and one sleeping figure.
I once asked my grandmother, a traditionalist, to paint me
a violent scene from a cartoon. “I can't,” she said. “Look
at the story it tells.” She painted reclining birds.
Those last fragile years she dotted narrow lines
while someone raked leaves outside—

Lies. Too pastoral. I never visited Bologna. But
I ask, “What about music, isn't that the highest art?”
Her ex used to play the saxophone;
a piano sits in her bedroom, dusted
like fine mahogany furniture.