Between the smoking antler
and Java juice, Hilda
and The Horse's Mouth,
doughnuts and Gary's suicide,

we are still hand-to-mouth
but our chess game's
improved. Your canvases
hanging at Faces Cafe,

David Barnett, the self-
proclaimed "...only real
poet in Denver," besotted
vagrant from Santa Fe,

introduced us, and you,
upon hearing my poems,
tendered Gorky, de
Kooning and Rothko;

I watched you paint,
began to grasp your worn
and leathered mind,
your flexible brush,

that imagination is pure,
abstraction sublime.
I admired your beard, Father,
its mingling of grass and acrylics.

Perplexed and vexed
by the triple fork
of your knight to my bishop,
rook and queen, I resign.

That old cafe now Brick's-
jazz and the Grateful Dead
in your converted shed, squid &
shrimp tumari, oils and cheesecloth.

I sometimes forget
that what's in my hand
is a cigarette-I've
dropped on your floor

enough ashes that perhaps
I should take up chewing my pen.
You gave me Patchen's Selected-
his woman in the center

of a ring of lions.
I was already a poet
with death on my tongue-
is that how you knew?

Picasso for Children
at Equator Books,
H.D. and Pig Earth.
Helene and Joanne

offer coffee, conversation,
opinions on Collette,
an ashtray, smoke, a red chair,
and support your contention,

"Art is for the uncommon man."
Uncommon is what you paint
and what I would write.
Roast duck. The antler smokes.


Padma Jared Thornlyre

If you've any comments on this poem, Padma Jared Thornlyre would be pleased to hear from you.

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