What Would You Ask the Artist?

Terrance Hayes


Dear Painter, can you share how you made the blue we
Find in certain of your paintings? Sometimes I catch it
Throwinga Godish glow over everything in the eye
Of a storm covered in lightning. I fear without you
The color will not be seen again except perhaps inside us
Where the bones hold its mercurial shades in them.
Matisse, Sir, did your brushes have the blues in them?

Where clse might the remains be found? We
Sometimes find the color in denim when rain dampens it.

Once or twice making love when I closed my eyes
I found myself in a tabernacle of the hue you
Have left hanging on the walls around us.

Hello G.O.A.T., Master of the Show, I have very little use
For blueberries, blue jays, skies, sapphire, & the hems
In the garments of policemen, but the lines we
See hand-painted on porcelain come close. I might use it
On a Ming vase or in cases of chaos or rapture & if I
Fell into darkness, I would gaze upon it & thank you.

Mid-fall, Icarus shows how a misstep expands behind you,
How one can come to a conclusion using the wrong calculus.
The man who covered his coins in honey before eating them
In "Gooseberries" also turned a distasteful blue. The ennui we
Wish to cover & uncover & free & contain. As in how hard it
Is to describe your own accent. As in the way The Bluest Eye

Has so much blackness in it. If pecople born in a season of ice
Are usually crawling by summer, how much do you
Suppose that determines their general disposition? Above us
Are constellations a soul needs for guidance, the anthems
Of sawdust & approximation. As if in matters of our bodies we
Are the least reliable witnesses. You find upon exit

The tubes of desuetude painters used in the exhibit.
I was borm for this moment because this is the moment I
Was born, you say. It is always the color of history. Can you
Share how you made the blues outlast & outline us?
How long did you swim or drown or float or swallow them,
Esteemed Ghost, Henri, ifI may, ennui, Henri, ennui?

Last updated February 19, 2023