Ekphrasis: Art & Poetry edited by Liz Blood
Timothy Bradford’s poem “RED YOU SO” recalls early humanity, our primal urges, broken speech and the desire for light and magic. It begs the question, how far have we really come? Inspired by artist Byron Shen’s painting The Fire Within, Bradford’s poem is the third installment of Ekphrasis, a place for poets to express imaginative understanding of a piece of visual art. Byron Shen is an award-winning artist who lives just outside of Tulsa and who has shown nationally and internationally. He holds an MFA degree in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art and currently teaches art at the Upper School at Holland Hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Timothy Bradford is the author of the poetry collection Nomads with Samsonite (BlazeVOX [books], 2011) and the introduction to Sadhus (Cuerpos Pintados, 2003), a photography book on the ascetics of South Asia. Currently he is a visiting assistant professor at Oklahoma State University. n
RED YOU SO by Timothy Bradford In the grey mist of us rises
jib of slaughtered light.
Red you so beautiful
desire’s dark column, survival’s power pillar of smoke, sideways parentheses of life in three. The fire within, origin. Who was first human? One, an Abyssinian in the Afar Depression circa 3.2 million years ago—
Illumination of everything is sorcery of light. To be human, did it mean to say fire did it mean to say within, did they have a word for fire and within, to be human, did it mean to say with votre langue fire within fire for human fire for meat fire for woman fire for man fire for child warm keep the beasts away! Cirrus-bottomed abyss Fertile yellow field 40 days at sea Cobalt night midi Train of dawn’s wedding dress Ejaculation of red, of fir Fear of brush stroke Fur of brush, stroked A piece of pigment shows humans were working with color 165,000 years ago. Angel wrestled Israel Kowtow to Krakow Gaza gauze gaze Airstrike #672 Wounded sky Jouissance arm sling But genii picnic here, tumescent with light. Red you so sun in us
to the word, to the gauze of cutting illusions in every direction.
(left) Byron Shen, Tulsa, The Fire Within, Oil and mixed media, 36” x 48”
f e a t u re
Published on Oct 29, 2014
2014 November/December Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight...