Stephen Mead


What do you see, touch?
These colors are pills, three left
Before sleep. I've almost exhausted
The spectrum, yes, I've almost flowed beyond...
The limits of fingers pulsing veins
Into brushes & on, on the canvas or,
In this case, plexi-glass...

How, to the sounds of "Satyagraha", I pass
My pigment-reflected spirit.
Those colors grow wetter & dry slowly,
Glowing as if with whispers which say
"We are such 'n such" to gel images
Through cigarette twists.

What am I remembering?
It's all there, spread out, "Rain Light"
From that institutions' alarm hooked windows.
My charge was wheel chair bound, too light
In the shower, his legs, threads for the stand,
Bar-clutched by fingers in a permanent claw
When I transferred him.
No. I lie. He did it himself, proud of the switch,
So valiantly nude for the bath. I only had to clean
"down there". He did everything else, even saying
"I love you" while rinsing his shag.
None are so much "all love" as those diagnosed
Early on as mentally "below range".

Back home, recalling the rain & his voice
At that residence, I paint, getting it all down
In an impression of personal symbols: seven
Radiant onion-y bulbs matted by transparencies
Of glaze. Now,

Beside you, in bed, "You're too light", you say,
& I, lost in the intimacy, can only recollect
Here, to Phillip Glass, the rain as I painted it,
The rain & that client, layer upon layer of

"all love" as it falls.

* * *


Ageless, those many aged, many limbed beings
Memory's flooding suds
Rinses the hearts of,
Those hours pulsing...

Year after year I've done it, the drudgery,
The pleasure, aware of the terms: client
There called patient here...

I name the birth names: Mary, Nanc,
Charles, Lenny, a score of faces, voices,
Flesh gurgling in spray or basin-dipped,
Displayed, a Cassatt babe of fingers, toes,
The rose water, the bouquet of holy labor,
Now an event at Advent...

Oh, all the Easter linens of biblical myth,
Even when sensuous, say, resurrecting
A lover in redeeming claw-footed porcelain...

Waves, waves & arcs, the pools, the baptismal,
& always an ache there in the river-run of
sponges, bottles, taps we swim laps in,
crossing Atlantic to Pacific in rooms of

wounds, rooms of rites, the fathoms
channeling our hurt & revival, that votive...

Here marrow keeps it safe.
Here blood seeks to nurture you of the many
Recalled in this lapping song of Solomon.

Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, and maker of short collage films living in NY. His most recent Amazon release, Our Book of Common Faith, is an exploration of world cultures/religions in hopes of discovering what may bond humanity as opposed to divide.