The Limits of Artistry

Jet trails scratch pink clouds

brushed across pale blue canvas,

slashed with palette knife,

the artist in frustration,

unable to paint the sky.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

The Mission of Orpheus

After a line by Margaret Fuller

 

Each Orpheus must nature forge in his soul’s fire,

and play its secret chords on his sweet lyre,

pluck its melodies on supple strings,

and try to stir to life dead dreams;

with his enchanting art attempt to raise

mere mortal love from an immortal grave.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Pozzotti’s Panther*

pozzottipanther.jpg

The great cat’s humongous feet

support a massive chest, the creature’s

strength mainly in its legs and flanks,

the head relatively small, the balancing

tail cable-thin, the body marked

with molecular diagrams

of some primitive lifeforce,

mouth open and teeth bared,

but as if to scream instead of bite,

eyes pleading, not daring

or rather, daring a different response

to dangerous beauty.

 

*Panther by Rudy Pozzotti

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Pozzotti’s Fox*

 

Pozzottifox

 

stands lined out against a slender tree,

tail flagging high, nose lifted to test

the nighttime air, bright eyes opening

onto a dark, sad wisdom.

 

Stealth, cunning, death, and the Devil,

says the plaque beside the print,

but the fox has nothing to hide,

no fear of circumstances beyond the grave.

 

Its cleverness shows a cleaner cunning

than the conniving human kind,

and we, not she, must own

the deviltries of this world.

 

*Fox by Rudy Pozzotti

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

A Few Meditate on Peace as Nature Makes Her Art

Painter’s dabs of gold,

pale green, orange-red, and brown

shining glossy wet,

as if freshly stroked on canvas

by the artist’s dripping brush:

Tulsa’s Guthrie Green

in cold autumn rain,

backgrounding some six-and-ten

gathered to embrace

the warm soul of peace.

 

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Modern Prints: A Haiku Series

Race (1)

Horses abstracted

to their motion, thus stretching

jockeys into track.

Tube Train (2)

An elasticised

throat lozenge by mishap sucked

down esophagus.

Stairs (3)

Big rippled dildo

erect and masturbated

by a spiral hand.

Lines (4)

Unexpectedly

poetic in their motion,

linemen far aloft

among salt-shaker

insulators risk the shock

of High-Modern life.

Service (5)

Waiters learn forward

in a yoga fold over

trays of flat dishes.

Tour des Tournants (6)

Pedaled wheels cycling

around a tight spiral bend

through ribbons of fence.

 

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Note: The poems are based on Modern Times: British Prints of the 1920s and 1930s, which was on show at the Philbrook Museum of Art.  Each haiku corresponds to a print specific print, as indicated:

(1) Racing by Sybil Andrews

(2) Tube Station by Cyril Power

(3) Tube Staircase by Cyril Power

(4) Fixing the Wires by Lill Tschudi

(5) Waiters by Lill Tschudi

(6) Tour de Suisse by Lill Tschudi

Art Punk

He’s a cultivated punk,

aiming for art rather than menace.

Dark hair long on top, slicked back,

with close-buzzed undercut, smooth face.

 

In black, of course: leather coat,

low-necked tee, pale, hairless chest,

skinny jeans, Doc Martens boots;

holding forth about his semester–

 

a student home from his college,

with his family at a cafe,

showing off his with and knowledge

to impress those who pay.

 

Probably thinks he invented chic,

but he’d find, were he to seek.

 

Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper