KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Ekphrastic CNF/  
Prose Poem: 273 words [R]

Eve’s Medium

by John Olson
—for Eve Ascheim

Eve’s paintings were opera, music teeming with intimation. The faces I brought with me were dust. I only mention that because one’s private thoughts are always inimitable and cruise the mind like alchemy and glucose. Eve’s feeling for space was huge, but the fainter lines made it appear soft as woodwinds, a feeling of patterns shuttled back and forth on a loom, swift, light, assiduously impromptu. Eve said she did not listen to music when she worked. Anyone who has ever played in an orchestra knows that the space inside music is a solitary gaze. Blisters prove that a diary written in a free hand is a story tangled in our personal meat. The voices at the opera are huge, but how do we reproduce them in silence? When a small bell is jingled the staircase appears more helical. Why is that? Is it because thunder is loudest in wood? Is it because taut strings thrill with decision? Time is experimental, but space assists the shape of the piano. Italian and French always amaze me when they are juggled like chlorophyll. The Renaissance abounds in perspective. Even a fire crackles with shape. We can see it in Rembrandt making light and civilization. After a moment of silence, we heard a voice coming out of a woman’s head. She was asking a question about Eve’s medium. Did she use pencil or charcoal? Anything, said Eve. The answer was soothing, and frank. I felt a quiet emotion burgeon into a brilliant darkness. Everything was a silence, a lush philosophy chiseled out of air. Artifacts of breath floating radius and pi.

—Published previously in Olson’s book Backscatter (Black Widow Press, 2008); appears here with his permission.

Publisher’s Note:

A pair of Eve Ascheim’s geometric abstracts, Glass Line and Lurker, may be viewed on her profile page at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University.

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