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Secrets, 2013, Amy Antin. Acrylic on Wood Panel. 63 x 63 cm



THE BLOG

is a page of assorted lyrics, poems and paintings

I've felt moved to share



THE ROTHKO CYCLE

Three Songs on the Artist Mark Rothko © 2008 Amy Antin


I Rothko Day


It’s all been said, or not at all,

What once was breath is now a painting on the wall--

They breathe in purple, blaze in red,

resplendent blacks and bitter blues,

Mysterious and true, they get to you,

Every single time they do,

they get to you


It’s all been written, many ways--

They had hard times but those were the days

where art was Art and man was Man

and one worked hard and had a plan,

and he who fell got up again,

At least that is what they tell me

and I believe them


But these are other times--

The trains are red and only red,

The course of color winds from counting dimes to canvas threads

and I love what you said,

how our successes only stress

our loneliness


My heart is full, I’m going back--

The trees come close and turn the window black,

And my reflection in the pane,

A block of green, a line of rain

below a blur of beige, gold and grey--

The perfect way, I’d say

to end a Rothko day

II Common Ground


Rothko paints in blood, my own and his

I am amazed, deeply amazed by this

The magic edges, borders fray but to insist

that all we learn from form

is formlessness


The details of a life are forms as well--

Another harried soul just like myself

who through the dramas, traumas, storms and wishing wells

was glad that what we give

goes out beyond ourselves


A tailor sews a suit of grey on grey and blue on blue

and lavender and brown

and he wears it into town

so all can see that in the seams

he’s put his longing and his dreams

for a more human world,

common ground


It's hard to speak of things that are so close

although we know it’s what we value most

Here, come over here, don’t be afraid

to find the love you fear

here in the love I’ve made


A tailor sews a suit of grey on grey and blue on blue

and lavender and brown

and he wears it into town,

So all can see that in the seams

he’s put his longing and his dreams for a more human world,

common ground

Rothko paints in blood and dies like that--

A pool of red across the floor, the bath,

All lives are death-- a steady, certain path,

With every step we take we’re only heading back


But a tailor sews a suit of grey on grey and blue on blue,

And lavender and brown,

He wears it into town

so all can see that in the seams

he’s put his longing and his dreams

for a more human world,

common ground,

A more human world,

common ground

III My Name is Rothko


Tell my story, but please do not speak about Art--

Talk about emotion, passion, tragedy and hearts,

painting as action and action a generous gift,

One man among many,

dying to live


This is my field and my work and my cross and my game,

Sometimes you’re holy as hell and others ashamed,

Sometimes you feel so diminished it tears you apart

and just when the whole thing is finished

you’re right back at start


It gets a bit easier now, now that I’m gone--

I don’t have to feel like a cog in their wheel or a pawn,

Don’t have to witness that smile on the sly auctioneer

Though the prices I’m taking these days,

they ring in my ears…


All that I wish is I wish you’ll continue to feel--

Feeling as human as this you’ve just gotta deal,

You go weeding the wheat from the chaff, the joy from the blues,

And sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh,

what else can you do

Famous, infamous or fameless, it’s only a name--

Each of us works and he hopes that his work will remain,

Just touching something or someone, that’s how you survive,

My name is Rothko,

and I’m still alive


EMPTY / Poem


When my train would stop

at that stop

Three stops before my own

I would look out and up

At a simple balcony

And there she’d sit

On a plastic folding chair

Surrounded by books

Stacked around her on the floor


I’d pray for her

For all who she’d been

And still was

And for all whom she loved

And all who had loved her


I imagined she’d been a professor--

frail now of body but clear of mind

like a piercing light, she sat poised

One flight

up above the world

like the lions

before the New York Public Library

Standing guard over 5th,

Or the building itself,

or the books that roam the wooden halls

like ghosts


I’d pray for her, then

quite often

Even on times when we’d stop

and she wasn’t there

because I knew she was--

Indoors,

Failing

And then came

the deep whirr of the train--

and we’d be off again

energetically moving forward

I’d look back

Wave goodbye in my mind’s eye

and bid her well


Today in Immobilienscout

Where I’m wont to move about

I came upon the listing

It said that an apartment-

that apartment- was for sale

It was that very one, her balcony,

The one where she’d sit


I recognized it right away

There were five photos of the interior

and one of the building as seen from the street

It needs renovation, they wrote

But I loved it

just as it was


The wallpaper was old and faded

but beautiful

The tiles were old and yellowed

but beautiful

The cabinets were old but tall

and beautiful

And the balcony that leaned out

over that stop

where the train stops

was old

but beautiful

and very, very


empty

-- Amy Antin, April 27, 2017


TAKE HEART


Keep the faith in all you do

for the wolf is waiting at the door

He will shake the very core of you

He is made of fear and nothing more

You were born for greater things than to crouch and shiver in the dark

So take heart my heart

Take heart


I know that it's hard for you

to let go and trust that you won't fall

But what else is there to do

If you stay like this you'll lose it all

You were born for gentle arms that reach out and catch you from the start

So take heart my heart

Take heart


Turn your eyes to a bluer sky, to a summer day, to a butterfly

Pave the way for a better day

You know how

and there's no time like right now


Keep an eye on he who lies

Know you do not have to let him in

Stay here in the pulse of life

Where we know that evil cannot win

For you were born for all that rings from the mountain down into the garden

So take heart dear hearts

Take heart


© Amy Antin 2016



Maybe it's just because the neighbors have lit the grill...or for a thousand other good reasons

Red, 2013, Amy Antin. Acrylic on Wood Panel. 127 x 170 cm


NOT WITH THE FIRE

“Perhaps my best years are gone...

But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now.“

Samuel Beckett, Krapp's Last Tape & Embers

I’m not giving up, I’m not easing back

And I can’t make up for the love you lack,

Take the smallest place, say it’s big enough

I won’t hide my ace when the game is up

Do what you will you can’t still this desire

Not with the fire, not with the fire

Do what you will you can’t still this desire

Not with the fire in me now


So you say it’s fine, you don’t mind at all

For you know in time all who rise will fall

Put away my hat, wipe away that smile

I’m not leaving yet, gonna stay a while

Do what you will you can't kill this desire

Not with the fire -- with the fire

Do what you will but my heart will not tire

Not with the fire in me now

You say my stand is second-hand and all my force is dwindling

But I just found out who I am

and my destiny,- the best of me,- is kindling

I’m not gonna rest till I get my chance

But I don’t expect you to understand

There are things on earth you’ve just gotta do

There are things in heaven that speak to you


Do what you will but the flames’ getting higher

Oo with the fire - with the fire

Do what you will you can’t kill this desire

Not with the fire in me now


© 2015 Amy Antin




THE DANCERS


Heal your heart by giving

Keep your secrets hidden

Raise your voice

but not before you've thought it over

For these are not the days for candour


Find a dream to stay with

Every day update it

Keep the faith in all you say you keep your faith in

For these are not the days for wasting


These are days for staying close to home

Keep the fires burning

Far too many out there all alone

Nervous and afraid

All the plans we made never had a chance

For these are not the days for dancing


Keep the dance inside you

Let the music guide you

Room to room in the arms of Fred Astaire

I can see you there

Lighter now than air

and laughing


We can't save another

Father, sister, mother

How I wish I could point my wand like this

and it would be okay

But these are not the days for wishes


These are days for staying close to home

Keep the fires burning

Far too many out there all alone

Nervous and afraid

All the plans we made never had a chance

For these are not the days for dancing


Heal your heart by giving

Keep your secrets hidden

Heal you heart by giving

Keep your secrets --

© 2013 Amy Antin



This song is an entreatment, or maybe a prayer


GENTLE


Be gentle galaxies, glaciers and polar bears

Be gentle with me and family over there

Be gentle with he who holds my heart in his hand

My gentle man, my gentleman


Be kind oh Cavalries, battle for love

May not this sorrow seep into our blood

For we are tender folk of tender ways

With tender hopes for tender days


Your wings over our heads

Your feathers in our beds

Your love in all our lives

My gentle Lord and light


Fare ye not carelesslessly in times of need

The path is full of thorns, the air of greed

We are but come to give the Earth increase

And leave a legacy of peace


© Amy Antin