The Painting After Lunch

By Clarence Major b. 1936 Clarence Major
It wasn’t working. Didn’t look back. Needed something else. So
I went out. After lunch I saw it in a different light, like a thing
emerging from behind a fever bush, something reaching the
senses with the smell of seaweed boiling, and as visible as yellow
snowdrops on black earth. Tasted it too, on the tongue Jamaica
pepper. To the touch, a velvet flower. Dragging and scumming, I
gave myself to it stroke after stroke. It kept coming in bits and fits,
fragments and snags. I even heard it singing but in the wrong key
like a deranged bird in wild cherries, having the time of its life.

Clarence Major, "The Painting After Lunch" from Waiting for Sweet Betty. Copyright © 2002 by Clarence Major. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townshend, WA 98368-0271, coppercanyonpress.org.

Source: Waiting for Sweet Betty (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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Poet Clarence Major b. 1936

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

 Clarence  Major

Biography

American writer Clarence Major "has been in the forefront of experimental poetry and prose," Eugene B. Redmond writes in Parnassus. "In prose he fits 'loosely' into a category with William Melvin Kelley and Ishmael Reed. But his influences and antecedents are not so easy to identify." Perhaps best known for his novels, Major draws on his experience as a Southern African-American to "[defy] the white-imposed 'traditions' of black . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Painting & Sculpture, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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