Looking At Art Through Damaged Eyes (The Warhol Show)

Poet: Mark Mitchell

Confianzaen el anteojo, no en el ojos;

               En la escalera nunca ele peldaño,

Reliance on the eyeglasses, not the eye;

              On the stairway, never the step…

                                     César Vallejo

                                     Reliance on the eyeglasses…


Held captive by big pictures,

her eyes pierce colorful walls,

noting glowing signs that mark exits.

Silkscreens hide the evidence of brushes

but she sees through the disguises

even though nothing’s in focus.


She knows the artist. His focus

is fame. Almost every large picture

hides a face in disguise —

camouflaged on open walls.

The room’s crowded. Someone brushes

her shoulder, heading for an exit.


A man. Familiar as a cat. This exit

light’s broken. Her eyes try to focus

on his vanishing back. She brushes

her hair away, turns back to pictures

that loiter on these long walls.

She chooses an expression, a disguise


to cover fear of art. His skies

almost kiss famous faces. Each exited

the world. She reads names on walls,

straining to keep letters in focus.

It’s easier to look at vast pictures

made by machines. No horsehair brushes


touched these surfaces. But brushes 

belong here—even when they’re disguised

as stencils. She memorizes pictures

while slyly learning every exit.

She’d like to pull her eyes into focus

like a camera capturing cool walls.


A brief blink. She leans on a vacant wall.

Breathes. She knows—downstairs—brushed

art lives. Deep impasto, unfocused

on headlines or curious disguises.

There are stairs. There are exits.

She can escape into different pictures.


That stranger’s image brushes her mind. His disguise

a mask not hung on a wall. He exited

onto focused streets. She’s lost in large pictures.

Mark J. Mitchell grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Starting from Tu Fu was just published by Encircle Publications. A new collection is due out in December from Cherry Grove.

He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things.

A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/