shallow focus photography of paintbrush

The Belletrist’s Palette

I am tired of the words
I already have.
They do not sparkle
For me nor dance
In the sun.
I’ve muddied them,
Mixed them,
Misused them,
Abused them…
These words
Are old news -
A belletrist’s folly.
An artist’s retreating.
They are wasted and
Vengeful, cotton wool
On a tongue:
It suddenly strikes me
That I am having no

Precious words sit like
Rare colors in my hand:
Chinese vermillion
Lapis lazuli
Cobalt violet
Deep cadmium yellow
Cremnitz white
Next to Cerulean blue
Poisonous and heavy
In their pristine beauty:
Oh, what am I going to do
With you!

I’ve frittered words away
In various combinations.
Thrown them upon the
Tide in imprecise attempts
At illumination.
I’ve whittled them down,
And bigged them up
I’ve been extravagant
And wasteful
And overfilled that
Proverbial cup.

Water flows free
Out of the faucet
I hold my head under
And clean my palette
All that richness going
Down the drain
All those words
Swirling uselessly
Around my brain.

Over on the table
The blank page awaits
I make a cup of tea
And go walk around
Ina Coolbrith Park.
I see her face in the 
Clouds -
Poetic concepts 
In the shadows of her eyes
As I waste
The most precious
Resource of all…
Then return to the
Photograph of 
Charlie Chaplin
That sits crookedly
On the wall of my 
Entrance hall. 

I die each day as I rip the 
Words out
More precious than lapis lazuli
I wait for the printer to
Spit them out.

close up photo of abstract painting

Ina Donna Coolbrith (Ina Donna Coolbrith (March 10, 1841 – February 29, 1928) She was born in Illinois, but adopted San Francisco as her city. She was an San Franciscan poet, writer, and librarian. She was very active in the San Francisco Bay Area literary and artistic communities. Nicknamed the “Sweet Singer of California”, she was the first California Poet Laureate. The park named after Ina Coolbrith in San Francisco’s Russian Hill community is a beautiful place to walk around and watch the day go by.

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