Moonbow: A Portrait by The Artist ‘Ars longa, vita brevis’ (from Hippocrates) a painter dips and curves her brush across the canvas confident she can reach the sea determined strokes of yellow ochre maneuverings of mixed blues greens some Payne’s grey give shape to interpretation of giving form to what things she thinks she sees a writer pens homage to the same in waves and crests of svelte black ink on ivory kraft following the ocean’s push and pull that rolls dusk ashore in foamy rumbles along bights of rocky coastline before ebbing back to an age old lull and sway but waning near full and high on the wind the moon transcends painter writer both who must ever learn an art it has mastered since the birth of light it gathers heaven’s fire to pop night skies in bands of moonbow jeweling the ocean’s surface then sparkling a ribbon of beach right up to the boardwalk where both human rivals sit bathed in its white dove halo— canvas, pages, efforts all
Beginnings: An Artist to the Eighth Wonder of the World (for Natasha and Josie W) No matter the hustlers, industrialists, power planters, all for centuries, twilling your hemline of emerald, peridot, indigo, cloud into fleeces from tourists, bill payers—trading rainbows for promised attractions to come, siphoning away by night your charms groping hands divert to turbines spinning electric out of mechanical energy, then, return to peddling feet, who push and sell your daywear; no matter how nature, at least once, jammed and dammed your throat with ice, restricting your issue from morning to dusk; your ancient cycle runs intact and unending as art flows without ceasing. Acquainted as I am with slacking limbs, limits— the signs of all things finite, the sometimes squelch of heart for art’s endless beginnings, I find solace in knowing we two are kin; you, a great river, and I born again and again, wrapped in infinity. Twelve thousand years of ice thawed to five great lakes continue their libations to you, who compel: thrive again on songs gust and wind winnow through oak and pine in the yard; on the air’s goodness to lift wherever light can be gathered; make, shape, out of time, space, some newness—an act akin to a river’s monumental flow, brooking no end… Niagara, one who dares create, salutes your course above eroded rock, felled stone, upstream to fall seven hundred fifty-seven thousand five hundred gallons per second down bridal veils and horseshoes sloping New York, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and over your rainbow only to drain back into the masterpiece you’ve created since the mastodon, unchanged by deterrence, undeterred by change.
Olga Dugan is a Cave Canem poet. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, her award-winning poems are forthcoming or appear in Channel (Ireland), Relief: A Journal of Art and Faith, E-Verse Radio, The Windhover, The Sunlight Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Southern Quarterly, Kweli, Ekphrastic Review, Tipton Poetry, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Peacock Journal, Origins, Poems from Pandemia – An Anthology, Cave Canem Anthology: XIII, and Red Moon Anthology of Modern English Haiku. Articles on poetry and cultural memory appear in The Journal of African American History, The North Star, and in Emory University’s “Meet the Fellows.”