Field of Moving Colors Layered

Untitled, 1965, by Alberto Valdés




I’m not easily mesmerized.
But how can you not be drawn in by swirls,
angles and whorls brought together to obey
a field of moving colors layered, muted    ...    
others bright that make you linger
there?
Just look at those Carpaccio reds.

Right then my mind
leaps to Cezanne:
his dark-blue vest in Self-Portrait (1879–1880);
the Seven Bathers (ca. 1900) wallowing in blue;
his blue beyond in Château Noir (1904).

Consider now the three, or is it four figures
in Alberto Valdés’s Untitled (ca. 1965).
They are wayward energy, moving right
to left (the right one more sensuous than the rest)
about to dive
into the deep-blue waiting — call it the unknown.
I’d like to be there when they meet that blue abyss
head on.
Will they keep their shape, I wonder,
or break up and rearrange themselves
into a brighter, more memorable pose
...    into a bigger elemental thing?

I’m really asking this:
When they run into the landscape of  blue,
will these figures lose their logic of  luster?
Will they lose their lucid argument of color,
their accumulated wealth of geometry?
Will they still engage the entire me,
hold me,
keep me mesmerized?
You can read the rest of the PINTURA : PALABRA portfolio in the March 2016 issue of Poetry. All images in this portfolio are courtesy of and with permission from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Untitled by Alberto Valdés, gift of David and Susan Valdés.
Source: Poetry (March 2016)
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