I birthed no humans I faked my virtue – I feared the world I kissed forked tongues – I killed honey bees I hid cigarette burns – I held back screams I cried for nothing – I craved the respect I licked the grass
The rain cools the unseasonably hot February day. A once divine youth faces a mid-life spectacle of indecisions. Isolation that once felt like a blessing smothers the spectral fire of yearning. Strangers want you to fulfill your promise. Your desires drop twenty degrees – a frost follows. The pure will to lock the streets in black ice fails. No winter follows this swampy February glare and unidentified flying objects – missiles crashing on downy mountaintops. We stand, flies buzzing over our heads fifteen thousand feet from the sea. On our descent, cradled inside the gentle sway of a 110-year-old train, a marathoner races downhill – barefoot, heels embedded with stars. As the skylark February dies in a summery fire.
If you have formed a Circle go into it, go into it yourself and see how you would do. – William Blake
In a rented studio on Fillmore Street she worked on her obsession colossal circles like the ones she used to draw as a child symmetrical radiating facets in white hues of reds and browns against a black background paint piling multi-dimensional transformation a sculpture rising from a flat plane she worked in a white lab coat and cotton gloves chipping away the dried crusty oil paint sipping brandy smoking Gauloise cigarettes watching a rock strata emerge from the endless depth of her circle.
“First exhibited in 1969, The Rose was taken to the San Francisco Art Institute, where it was covered with plaster for support and protection, and finally stored behind the wall of a conference room. Legend grew about the painting, but it remained sealed until 1995, when Whitney curator Lisa Phillips had it excavated and restored by a team of conservators, who created a backing strong enough to support the heavy paint.”
Photo Credit: Jay DeFeo working on The Rose, 1958–66 (known at that time as The White Rose), San Francisco, 1960–61.