Wandering in Woodacre – 9 June 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 9 June 1849 – Michael Ancher, a Danish painter.

Below – “A stroll on the beach”; “The red lifeboat on its way out to the sea”;“Will he round the point?”; “Portrait of My Wife, the Painter Anna Ancher”; “Anna Ancher returning from the field”; “Beach scene.”

A Poem for Today

by Karla Huston

When my father tuned his sousaphone,
he fiddled with tubes and oil
like when he restored the Model T, his hands
working the pipes and joints. And all around him
it’s polka polka, big oom-pas, little dancing girls
on the tips of the valves while he worked his embouchure
into the proper purse of lips. Somewhere
bar lights glinted off the big bell, the name “Bob”
engraved inside the swale, hill and valley
little dancehall at the end of a corn maze,
small towns in Wisconsin, a fireman’s dance
in a cavernous hall, a wedding gig or two.
He said nothing while he adjusted the weight
on knees already bruised and aching. When
cancer took a wedge out of his lip,
he had to give them up—The Beer Barrel,
the She’s-Too-Fat, the Blue-Eyes-Cryin’-in-the-Rain
Polka, the Liechtensteiner, a schottische or two.
The music lived in his head, the tip of his tongue,
the records stacked and dusty on the floor.

This Date in Art History: Died 9 June 1984 – Helen Hardin, a Native American painter.

Below – “Arrival of the Cloud People”; Untitled; “Mimbres Kokopelli”; Untitled, bird; “Snake”; “Guardian of the Fire.”

A Poem for Today

“Fayetteville Junior High”
by Fleda Brown

What happened was, when we weren’t looking
Mr. Selby married Miss Lewis.
We tried to think of it, tiptoed Mr. Selby,
twirling the edges of blackboard numbers
like the sweet-pea tendrils of his hair,
all his calculations secretly
yearning away from algebra, toward
Miss Lewis, legs like stone pillars
in the slick cave of the locker room,
checking off the showered, the breasted,
flat-chested. All this, another world
we never dreamed of inside the bells,
the changing of classes:
Selby and Lewis, emerging
from rooms 4 and 16, holding hands
like prisoners seeing the sky after all those years.
“Bertha,” he says. “Travis,” she says.
The drawbridge of the hypotenuse opens,
the free throw line skates forward,
the old chain of being transcended
in one good leap, worn floor creaking
strange as angels. In homeroom, the smell of
humans, rank, sprouting, yet this hope for us all.

Below – Paul Henry Fresco: “Holding Hands”

This Date in Art History: Died 9 June 1998 – Lois Mailou Jones, an American painter.

Below – Untitled (Haitian Landscape); “A Shady Nook”; “Grossesse”; “Haitian Flute Boy”; “African Masks”; “Winter Night.”

A Poem for Today

“Center Cafe”
by Mark Vinz

Well, you’re in town, then. The boys
from the class reunion wander in
and take their places in the corner booth,
just as they might have fifty years ago—
grayer, balder, wearing hats announcing
places far away. Their conversation
rises, falls to the inevitable—a missing
friend who worked right up until the end,
another who is long past traveling. Smiles
grow distant as their silence overtakes
the room. The busy waitress pauses,
nods. She’s always known the boys.

Below – David Johnson: “old men talking outside cafe”

Contemporary American Art – Clayton Merrill

Below – “Spring”; “Red Storm”; “Hot Sun, Cold Sun”; “Landscape Alteration: Rising Waters”; “Signal Configuration.”

A Poem for Today

“The Shipfitter’s Wife”
by Durianne Laux

I loved him most
when he came home from work,
his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
his denim shirt ringed with sweat,
smelling of salt, the drying weeds
of the ocean. I’d go to where he sat
on the edge of the bed, his forehead
anointed with grease, his cracked hands
jammed between his thighs, and unlace
the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles
and calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
Then I’d open his clothes and take
the whole day inside me – the ship’s
gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
the voice of the foreman clanging
off the hull’s silver ribs. Spark of lead
kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,
the white fire of the torch, the whistle,
and the long drive home.

Below – Robert Dickerson: “The tired man”

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