Ron Romanowski

U of M Labour Studies alumnus Ron Romanowski's latest poetry collection is the CanLit satire, The Big Book of Canadian Poetry.

Three Plans for a Metaphysical Doorway
(after three grouped paintings by Derek Dunlop, all “Untitled”)

It’s the idea that images can shimmer.
Some call it the brain’s work. We make them so.
There is a way to provoke that with paint,
one that might be learned. And then add variations,
that makes it art: something not quite plumb,
not quite straight, about these lines as if they
were slashed on with four loose brush strokes.
But what strokes. Why do they look exactly
right; one could measure the angles
(let’s think about Renaissance perspective):
but how long did it take to know
the colours that would add up to what
one cannot name. And how long did the
brush delay, dripping, before those deft strokes?

*Question: Of what does this gallery’s dimension remind one?

Of an extant shrine in Pula, Croatia
where priestly measure built the ratio
of side to end walls as three to two.
This temple of Geometer Diana
whose ambit’s twenty-two units classical;
twenty-two as in the duality of the eyes,
halved, to the prime eleven which ties
geometry with the metaphysical.
As one, and one, viewers would part,
first guided by priestly dissertation,
but then alone in contemplation,
in communion with the goddess’s art.

Red Line Universe I
(after the painting “Zummad” by Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline)

The red line peripatetic—
or, is it not-red who unlike a rooster
stalks Red Bear county roads
themselves laid with red earth, though
they might soon be stoned, or even paved.
To barn red farm buildings where
no farmer’s daughter wears a red handkerchief
or, works in the cold with red hands.

And what is not-red? Not
like that of the Colonial map, scarlet,
with what was under control by colour;
how the map unmade history.
Red Bear may have never seen its like since
or, is possibly not sure if it wants to.

Red Line Universe II/Hulking Dripster Handstands
(after the painting “Zummad” by Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline)

Where are the circus reporters when
the painter appropriates the acrobat’s
intention of where to put his hands,
when the earth is tumbling past
as a rolling man. Surely he will
take handstands as well. Just before his
applause, as he might expect, that must be.

This is paint much troubled about.
Sometimes dripping over an edge askew
where cross-hatching references water
that the artist perhaps knew as a child,
something like the green drips are trees
that elsewhere might be judged as
seismic lines. This is that precocious tumble.

White Bikini Hieroglyphic Grid/Don Juan’s Laundry
(after Derek Dunlop’s painting “systematic [white]”)

Even this could be too much for the cleaners
or that Book of Numbers (was that
in the bible, or an opera). Every scanty
tells a story, or every painting does.
What did Jane have to say? Which Jane?
of Paris, or of Rome where she lived beside
the Spanish steps—themselves never truly white,
though often of marble’s sunny yellow warmth
inhabited by crowds talking, playing guitars,
where Jane looked out (if it was not the Don).
Truth charged in white iteration. Relief
of memory. How did endeavor become
a symbol where it floats definitively, wearing
each glint, side by side, like part of an army?

back to
Ekphrastic Encounters: Animating Art with Words

Untitled by Dunlop
Derek Dunlop, Canadian, b. 1978, Untitled, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas, 58.42 x 58.42, collection of the Artist

Untitled by Dunlop
Derek Dunlop, Canadian, b. 1978, Untitled, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas, 50.8 x 50.8, collection of the Artist

Untitled by Dunlop
Derek Dunlop, Canadian, b. 1978, Untitled, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas, 50.8 x 50.8, courtesy of Michael Gibson Gallery

Zummand by KKG
Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline, Canadian, b. 1980, Zummad, 2012, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 121.92, courtesy of Battat Contemporary

Systematic White by Dunlop
Derek Dunlop, Canadian, b. 1978, systematic (white), 2010, oil and pencil on canvas, 91 x 152, collection of the Artist

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