Tim Keane


Three Paintings


St. Sylvester

Imagine an apostle baked under Thessalonian morning sun. Jesus Christ has been dead a long time. He's unreturned. But this saint's heart, tided by fire-tongued grace, breaks over border-walls of a dumb, dry land. Here coitus is king, and queen, and in the fresco's moment, he's found his rest sitting on the marble ledge in the unconverted art of Apollo's temple. His rose-pink robe is wrapped snugly round his long limbs. You'd think his portrait painter was born feeling the counterpoints of God's geometries. Still, from a resurrection emerging from a blue scroll he holds, our apostle is exhausted beyond his purpose. His future-weary eyes are already closed off on the blood-rush of life within. Fading like hope-letters scribbled from prison, cautioning each heathen in answer to a sickening ritual— "My brothers! Do not suddenly lose your heads or alarm yourselves at some oracular utterance!" His fixation is its own proof: belief is to be lost in this drawn, forgiving face, set on the very kingdom he was born to teach.



Tables make long beds for copper-sheen sole, each fish smacked down, flaps over onto two & two to a third till they are five-or—eleven—schools—crowded abundance, miracles & twin yellow eyes rung round in ink-black, staring into a nothing that is—the town's collage, the sea-idyll, the frenetic spikes of sound, then the murmuring, the money-rings & the inquiries, the rational bounds of the market square—ruined soles under a hail of ice shards are washed clean, blood-red rivulets match the petals of potted tulips & swards of green leaf make a tiffany-like glass-run — such an intricate staging for such a messy harvest—the apron-cutters at their reveries, the elderly watchers under the mistral, the symmetries of fin-tip, the topsail of silk, the Breton sky, the ocean-toned, icy hue, the variation, all close in on an arpeggio for the eyes—shimmer of brine on the rain-soaked, bay-plump & silver-finned blues.


From the Muse of Questions

The sun shoaled your freckled arms so insistently its light on you nearly made a cuckold of me. You snored like exhausted Cassandra. I dipped my pen into your brune-pool & scribbled characters on the note-table. The first work-note suggested "make an extended metaphor of the morning glory." But I had to run off the banal impulse to imprison such a rhapsody in the bare cage of form. With patience, gray morning gave me license. Overnight, the sea acceded & let whitefish make the sky's face. At home, you were up at your zinger-tea, reading my hopeless line-notes about the morning glory. Your nightwear turned our kitchen into a stage-for-hot-roses. Its patterns made a dawn constellation of the air. You said you were embarrassed about my black query on the morning glory. "What more in the world would lovers like us need besides the fantasia we‘ve made of our unity? Why, when we have such precision, would we need to make a morning glory into a metaphor? And why denude a bride— green eyes and all— as if she were some ordinary flower?"