THE WRITTEN WORD
Picasso’s Self Portrait with Palette, 1906
by Diana Pinckney
Here the strong, dark-eyed twenty-five-year- old,
bold in his realism, old in his art and ready
to change it again and again. Pablo,
looking young and innocent. Was he ever?
Here the left hand holds a palette, the right ready
to draw, to paint. By nine producing portraits of family
and everyone he saw. By sixteen off to Beaux Arts
Academy of Madrid. Here the driven man/child consumed
all—shapes, images, never forgetting his childhood
in Malaga, city of Phoenicians, Romans, Jews, Moors,
Christians and Spaniards. Here Pablo’s first
language was art, his first word piz, for lapiz—pencil.
In Malaga’s Plaza de la Merced he absorbed
the rich colors of violet flowers draped from jacaranda
trees, the pale yellows and oranges of fruit. Aromas
of coffee and tea drifted from the tables mixed
with scents of tobacco from cigarettes like the one
the Gypsies taught the boy to smoke up his nostril.
Here he paints his flesh the color of the clay
he once sat in. Before Pablo walked, he drew
and drew, until exhausted, then
folded his small body beside the work.
Three Dancers 1925
by Diana Pinckney
They leap, prance and fling themselves in what
Else but joy, a ballet of free bodies, touching hands
Bouncing. Each with a foot in the air, a knee
Bent. Nothing hinders these bodies, no costume,
No toe slippers. The centered dancer all flesh,
The one on the left wears only a guitar, one hand
Playing, head angled to the side, a nipple pointed
Up, silhouetted against the blue door that the three
Have entered. Entered where? Where else but a salon.
The dancer on the right is a contrast of brown
And white. The ballet’s gentleman enabler, holding
High the other’s hands, standing on his white leg,
Lifting his brown in support. The other two abandon
All caution and open everything up, giving everything
To the canvas, to the air, to all who care.
Diana Pinckney enjoys writing about art and the lives of artists, such as Picasso. She is a poet who lives in Charlotte and who shares her poetry with a writing group. She has published five books of poetry. As a subscriber to News of Davidson, she looks forward to seeing her work on the site and to reading other writers poems and prose, as well.