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(This painting, a first place winner, was stolen by a gallery owner operating out of Phoenix, AZ, in early 1990's. He, Alan Eakins, closed his gallery, the Hub Gallery, and left the area and was untraceable, without paying me for the painting. Probably he went bankrupt and couldn't. But if anyone ever locates the owner, I'd like to know where it is. I promise I won't procecute. It's a damn fine painting.)

The person is so present in this painting
(and why not? If we can be present
in bodies, why not in paintings?)
that it feels impolite to let my eyes
leave his to inspect bare arms and legs.

Partly it's the way, though he meets our eyes
levelly, he seems to fall away from us,
as if the whole painting climbs from within
to where he meets our eyes.

And you've caught in his held face
the hands' need to be doing something;
in his hands (one grasping the other's
studied limpness) a determination
(his as well as yours for him)
to be here (along with his confusion
about whether he holds his body still
or it holds him); in his rumpled tankshirt

the pretense that the body just sits there,
when it is not only held in place,
but in EACH of a billion places
and not only held there, but created there
from heartbeat to heartbeat,
like the knowing we give it
that it is returning our gaze.

It is not, of course, him (the painting,
I mean), only enough of his life
as will flower awhile, uprooted here
from flesh and motion,

like those cut blooms,
with their blue branching shadows
that pulse like arteries--blooms
that reach out for sunlight from a glass
of scummed water which masquerades
as root and earth--

and here is enough of Dan to thrive
in the lambent liquid of our eyes.

Dean Blehert

Last Updated: October 6, 2002

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