Painting the Even Air

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 /
            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
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.

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