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John Samuel Tieman: Elegy For A Painter

Gordon Gilchrist
Cozumel, 2017

Your death interrupts nothing.

Fold the laundry, clean dishes,

program a show to tape on Tivo.

Load the washing machine again

and wonder if there’s a bleach for grief.

Feed the birds and it occurs to me

they’re illiterate. Tonight I too

become fluent in listening.

There’s a Mayan temple you caught with

your lithograph on my brother’s wall and

the mailman disrupts my stare out

the window, knocks and asks me to sign

for something I forget on the porch.

A neighbor installs an antenna.

That’s what survives, you said – beauty is a need

like thirst and sex – that even in the Neolithic,

even in a cave, a man once painted

his own hand and was joined by the hands

of others, you said. I don’t remember anything

you said about God. But once you believed

in a Mexican woman, in a load of impossible

vegetables balanced on her head and you stared

at her and after her and you said, “Did you see her?

Did you see her?”

Copyright 2017 John Samuel Tieman


“After school, 1985, the lounge of the El Presidente Hotel in Polanco, a colonia in Mexico City, the night I was voted Regal Rat by The Empire Club, an honor I still hold dear. I’m the one in the hat. Gordon is on my right.” — jst

3 comments on “John Samuel Tieman: Elegy For A Painter

  1. Yair shahan
    October 21, 2021

    Mr Gilchrist was not only my art teacher but teacher for life.
    My he rest in peace .
    Yair shahan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alexisrhonefancher
    July 12, 2017

    I seriously love this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2017 by in Art and Cinema, Poetry and tagged , , .

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