1 poem

by Jason Harris

Jason Harris is an educator, poet, and a NEOMFA candidate. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, TRACK//FOUR, OCCULUM, Longleaf Review, Wildness Journal, and others. He is the Managing Editor of BARNHOUSE Journal and lives in Cleveland, OH.

strategies for being remembered

 

1: stand for love / 2: & joy / 3: against suffering / 4: witness the body you inhabit uninhibited

               by old terms / 5: create a world where hands become feet & feet mouth

6: witness the body in new terms / in new colors / unashamed & without hinderance or name

               7: teach a child how to paint / how to steal for the benefit of all people

is it immoral to steal what was stolen? or brave? / water is heavy because we are still there

               still finding our way home / every day new footprints appear on the shore

& the world softens / 8: teach a child thievery & history will rewrite itself / 9: teach a child how

               to sneak into an art museum / act awed over bronze statues & acrylic

paintings / 10: teach her how to dream about the painting of a man on a horse until she can

               practically paint the man on a horse in her sleep / 11: to imagine the lucky

hand holding the brush at the painting’s inception her own / what difference would it make?

               how long would a revision take then? / there would have been a small

siege of blue herons emerging from the horizon / casting shadows the shape of clouds on the

               ground instead of a cannon’s residue graying the sky / in the foreground

a younger version of her father in a boat / translucent / wading in a slow creek / fingers locked

               behind his head / passing underneath a tree / to mix linseed oil with dammar

varnish: a strategy for being remembered. to leave the expansive landscape alone an act of

               love, an act of understanding what does not belong to you does not belong

to you / where on the other side of the tree-filled mountain two lovers build a home together

               acknowledge that sap on grass in morning is proof that earth weeps for how

we made it out with joy / strategies for being remembered: 12: rub the brush over the man on

               the horse & over the horse too / what is understood need not be stated twice 

13: leave only the black girl in the background picking cotton / 14: paint a smile on her face

               15: the cotton in her hand gold / 16: on the back of the canvas a litany or

question or prayer: god / in how many ways can one amend the past? how many?