Number 7, 1951 painted by Jackson Pollack

For mad, obsessed, genius artists (good or bad) little is valued beyond the making of the art. The rest of life, not matter how held dear, is lived to feed inspiration for that primary addiction. But even as the brush accidentally colors in the line that will change canvas from graphic image into an art object and exhilaration thrills through the painter’s body like hot and cold burning acid, there is a background noise, a white sound, never-ceasing round of questions whispering with the delicate insistence of termites in the walls:

Does love kill art?
Will an audience strangle me,
Hold tight so I can’t breathe?
Pay the bills that drive me to the edge?
Soothe the hungry, angry lion that sings within my head?
Arrive one day and understand?
Tell me what I am doing?
Explain me to myself without my words?
Make me famous, a star?
Define my genre?
Encourage my friends?
Take my photograph?
Hate my wife for me?
Love me for myself, my smile, for the paint that splattered
On my face where I fell asleep upon yet another relic of my frenzy?
Confine me to a kitchen square of canvas?
Crystallize me within a green iceberg?
Love me for what it has made of me?
Trap me as completely understood?
Convince me that these lines upon a split sheet are too close to meaning,
Too like pedestrian dime-store dross?
A giraffe is almost visible! A spotted leopard!
The face of a man! A forest! Eden and Evolution.
Unnecessary. Sentimental. Figurative.
A missing corpse? My own? Myself?


Number 7, 1951”  painted by Jackson Pollack in 1951
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA


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