A canvas comprises a totality of surface
just as Spain is composed of constituent parts,
Catalunya, Madrid, hills and trees, etc.
Color dyes the fabric clothing form itself,
as wars and anthems unify
the body politic of mass and volume.
Neutral as Switzerland, the palette
confers legitimacy on every pigment it holds,
like a Roman Emperor. Zaragoza,
that dusty, lemon-bitter city of rough stones
with its cathedral of saints’ bones
on a plaza lacking any compensatory grace—
Zaragoza is but the corruption
of its Roman name, Caesar Augustus,
and so a cohort to historical inaccuracy.
This I propose as demonstration
that what matters is not accuracy but acts,
not chronicles but conquests.
The body is everything I have wished
to rid myself of through art
and failed. Yet surrender is impossible.
My hands persevere in the task of painting
as soldiers long after the battle is lost
carry on their raping of women in the streets.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Cambell McGrath is an American poet. He is the author of nine full-length collections of poetry, including Seven Notebooks (Ecco Press, 2008), Shannon: A Poem of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Ecco Press, 2009), and In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (Ecco Press, 2012).