We flinch from it, want more images
to flick across the surface. Instead
a blur of slate grey diluted
to a white penumbra with a shot
of turps, or how the oranges
in my fruit bowl sing at their skin
mentioned on a canvas. A hive
of assistants worked with him,
hands moving at a conjurer's speed.
Each painted layer a shared meditation.
One restaurant bought his painterly
autograph, so that diners, lips full
of conversation could sit at ear height,
chewing on carpaccio, sharing the maroon.
Rothko gave the money back, his paintings
later earning millions. A sum he'd never know.
He died at his own hand, his blood
a signature in a 8 x 8 room, deadened
and dense with pills, deep cuts
across his wrists, left his children
fatherless, led us where wordless colours
rule the accuracy of silence
he talked about.