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Looking At Art Through Damaged Eyes (The Warhol Show)

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

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