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Exaltation in Cadmium Red

Updated: Jan 12


Deleware Crossing, Frank Stella

Cadmium Red

from "Exhalation in Cadmium Red" by Sonia Di Placido

I tried to share it with you:

how to take apart the toxic words –

the red strokes that obliterate.

But you’ll never get it; unless you come

to see your red splatter as a habit in its ugly

vastness – a canvas caught, distraught.

How ferociousness must stay within

the bounds of some aperture or design,

however abstract on its blank canvas.

This is part of the secret when working

in cadmium red. Knowing the first brush

stroke, feeling out when to stop the color

From overbearing the white space. Knowing

how much pigment is too much for one piece.

How to ease out the measure between paint

And brush with the grip of your fingers. Same

as the dip of a feather tip writing in blood.

The object becomes subtle, sacred, and sleek.

It was fun for a while – making bold red

splotches and strokes of desire. The thick

smell of oil perverse till dried. I began to see

The red tragedy reflected through your eyes –

What had not been imbued.

The lack of skill for containing such

Wanton passion, intricate pleasure.

What is most required when releasing

the awe of a cadmium romance.


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