after Brett Whiteley’s My Armchair
by Jane Frank
Tunisian blue / planar strokes / hums in your room, mine / occupies the beautiful intricacies of negative space between your Japanese print and the curve of the rug steam here creates the same rag-off effect: layers of a fraught day peel / me beneath streaks / my window hangs behind me but like yours, rich colour is waiting to seep past the frame / the moon would burn me orange if I let it / a glimpse of Lavender Bay or the line of figs trees against a paling fence somehow the same / high key and molten with reflections / complications so I’ll breathe the same blue bath harmony here with a scent of blueberry scratched with sea salt or later at my desk where the light through French doors is only an ultramarine echo they are essential: familiar shapes and distances / our arm- chairs / mine in the corner/ yours left of centre / soft shoulders of wicker that almost reach out / cool hands you painted the even air as well as the chair and the room’s musical objects / meditated with Matisse / let the slow harbour wash through / a day of surrendered blue
The blue of this Whiteley work calms me and I return to it often. He is painting an astral space that brought him bliss and I can feel it. His arrangement of furniture and objects in the domestic realm brings comfort and peace so words flow, like being submerged in water. When the world becomes too much, I like to swim around the canvas; let Lavender Bay into my head.
Jane Frank’s latest chapbook is Wide River (Calanthe Press, 2020). Recently, her poems have appeared in Antipodes, Hecate, The Bengaluru Review, Takahe, Backstory, Other Terrain and the APWT /Drunken Boat anthology —Meridian. During Covid-19, she took part in poetry readings including #panaceapoets and #plagueopoems. She lives in Brisbane and teaches in Humanities at Griffith University.