KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 4: Fall 2015
Poem: 149 words [R]

In Praise of My Brother, the Painter

by Michelle Bitting
How every morning he rose, slave 
to the sound, this endless call to make. 
Mad hatter, dervish sawyer, a primitive 
blur of hands at work: fingers feeding 
the dreamiest bolts through needles,
vision’s machinery. In the photo where 
he stands, fists on hips—defiant, electric 
in his Bowery studio, splotched jeans 
and boots, the clouds of white gesso 
a kind of palette couture—so satisfied 
his look: Je suis arrive, Asshole...And 
this is how I want to remember him. 
Not what a note left like that means. 
Not the slow descent, the pills or piles 
of soiled laundry. Not the dog left barking 
in the kitchen, the bowl with enough grain 
to last. No, I want the beauty, even 
his cursive, the swirling tints 
of parting thought, the art itself: Dear Sister,
if I could survive this long, you will flourish.

—Previously appears in Atticus Review (2012); republished here by author’s permission

Note: See also Artist’s Statement and poem film in Atticus Review. The poem film is among those discussed by Jack Cooper in this issue of KYSO Flash: Video Poetry: Synergy or Dependency?

Michelle Bitting
Issue 4, Fall 2015

is the author of three poetry collections: Notes to the Beloved (Sacramento Poetry Center Press, 2012), winner of the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award in 2011; Good Friday Kiss (C&R Press, 2008), chosen by Thomas Lux in 2007 as winner of the DeNovo First Book Award; and Blue Laws (Finishing Line Press, 2007).

Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Nimrod, Rattle, River Styx, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Linebreak, The L.A. Weekly, and many others. Individual poems have been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily and have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes.

Bitting has won the Beyond Baroque Foundation Award, Virginia Brendemuehl Award, and the Glimmer Train poetry contest, and has been a finalist for the Poet’s & Writer’s Magazine California Exchange, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Julia Peterkin, and numerous other awards.

She studied theater at the University of California, Berkeley and pursued careers in dance and culinary arts before turning her focus to writing in 2001. She received her MFA in writing and poetry from Pacific University, Oregon in 2009, and is pursuing a PhD in mythological studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She has taught in the UCLA Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison in Los Angeles, and as a devoted California Poet In The Schools.

Bitting lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the actor Phil Abrams, and their two children. In collaboration with her husband, she has adapted a number of her works for the visual medium known as “poem films.” Some of these projects have been presented by Atticus Review, Cheek Teeth, and Moving Poems.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Selected Poems at the poet’s website

Michelle Bitting, with Katie Hillenbrand, an interview in which Bitting talks about her poem films and the role of myth in her poetry; interview appears in Connotation Press and includes five of her poems (two prose and three lineated).

Site contains text, proprietary computer code,
and graphic images that are protected by:

⚡   Many thanks for taking time to report broken links to: KYSOWebmaster [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡