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This is poetry set against the background of Southern California—heat, earthquakes, brushfires, the ever-present sea. In four sections, the poet investigates landscape, family, passion and aging. The language is deceptively simple, yet the potent use of imagery by this poet/artist transforms the ordinary into the heartbreaking and the universal.
"... a collection that will be wept over for its poignant truths, delighted in for its unique and exact images and cherished for its wisdom and foibles, its sheer engaging humanity. " Joan Colby
and I’ve understood nothing
except the stretched weight of summer nights,
the burn of the sun at four o’clock,
the shadows of the eucalyptus,
the indifference of rain.
I wait for clouds to arrive from the west,
for my teeth, hair, skin,
bones, fingernails to thin;
and the sky smells of melting candles,
and the trees are still.
In FUGITIVE PIGMENTS, Ruth Bavetta brings together the worlds of poetry and art. These are ekphrastic poems, instructive poems, poems riffing off the principles of art—the art of living, of shading, perspective, colors; how to create an exquisite corpse, and what one should know about shadows. Bavetta speaks in the voice of Joseph Cornell, addresses Alice Neel, wakes up under a sky painted by Andrea Mantegna. She writes of making art, looking at art, teaching art—teaching us to see.
What Is Left to Show That I Was Here?
Remember me in the Ultramarine
of an empty bed, find me
in the Cardinal Purple
of a canceled stamp, the Marking Blue
of builders, handsaws, teachers. Viridian
of rooms webbed with birds.
I will be in the Cadmium Red
of random apples, in the Burnt
Umber basket of a shadow. Vermilion
will account for a puncture
in the skin of loneliness.
Look for me in the Aurelian pollen
of Cerulean lilacs, in the ache
of Mars Violet. Bone Black crows
on branches, Alizarin Crimson to weep
and soak my shirt.
Ruth Bavetta gathers us around the table to partake of the meal of living. She serves a piquant simmer of togetherness that tastes of love, loss, and remembrance. This is food as more than recipes and restaurant reviews. We partake of the ragout of ritual and celebration, help ourselves from the platters of tradition and culture. We are nourished with the joys and sorrows of life and find succor in the soup of sex, sensuality, and pleasure.
Bread begins with the field,
with the grain bending its head
before the drifts and cracks
of wind and rain. It begins
with the yeast, blooming
in water warm as our bodies,
sugar, sweet as August heat.
Hands mixing flour,
water, salt, turning
the tendons of gluten
until they bend
to the will of the yeast.
Bake in the sun of the oven,
fill the house with praise.