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Janice J. Heiss

Play Klee

after an untitled Paul Klee lithograph
(all quotations from Paul Klee)

She's abstract, yet
in her precise ambiguities.
Unreal yet
as pure symbol.

On a pea-sick-green sea,
part foreground, part background,
Fractal geometry?

What is she?
I can see; I can't see.
Klee: answer me.

OK, so, "The father of the arrow is the thought..."
But, play fair, you flirt
pictograms and cartoons
can hurt.

"... Color and I are one..."
But she could be
a page of two-dimensional math
so flat is the matte of her brassy complexion.

Call yourself "a kinetic coordinator"
but she sure looks like a chance connection,
teeter tottering head on
an ice-pick neck an
accident happening,
a broken vase
that mask of a face.

Does she end
the empty space
her heart and
She's falling apart --
the perplexity of art?

Slipping inside herself,
her lipstick
sticks her up.
Your arrow
points her down,
pinning her round valentine lips,

With her lopsided table of hair
obtuse, tic-tac-toe eyes,
Wrapped in a litter of
shapes and symbols,
she's funny and sad.
Intentionally untranslatable?

Seeing is meaning
meaning is seeing
trapped inside the
finite frame of time,

Color, form, alone.
Is that all?
Don't get me wrong
she's hung on my wall
a long time,
in my mind.

©2006 by Janice J. Heiss

Janice J. Heiss lives in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies, including Herotica 2 (under the pseudonym, Daphne Slade), Storyglossia, Mad Hatters' Review, Passages North, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. In 2005, one of her short stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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