Deborah Elliott Deutschman



Plaza de Retiro
12,000 feet up

In the turpentine glare
Of the desert sunlight
A converted motel

She stands there waiting outside
A few minutes early
White shorn chopped-off hair
With the face of a holy child

If you did not know who she was
You would probably mistake her
For another elderly lady
Living here in this retirement home
Heavyset limited budget by the clothes
Functional pants shirt hanging out

I hand her the yellow roses I've brought
And slowly follow her in
An almost empty living room
With a simple open kitchen
To put the flowers in a plastic vase

I can drive but I can't walk she says
And holds onto my arm
That's my car she points
To the white Mercedes in the parking lot
My dealer gave it to me
But do you mind if we take your car?

We go to the Trading Post Café
Where she still has lunch almost every day
with 1 glass of Chianti

Her eyes
A pale blue from another world
That have taken in all the hurt of this world
But now see beyond

Here in the unrelenting light

In the high desert
Of canyons and mountains and mesas
Where a sea once was
And now the sky extends beyond the horizon
With ghostly tides rushing in
Mirages of crashing waves

Here at the ore of the light
Where the light reigns
On the other side beyond sight
Vision begins

Blank bank of days

Blank bank of days
She sits and waits
In her almost empty living room

Blank space
Wherein she spends her days
In the rocking chair or in the Eames

Or in her studio
A few minutes away
Next to the Harwood Museum
WOuld you like to see my paintings?

She says after lunch

In an octagonal room seven paintings
Broad bandwidths of pastel
Horizontal fields of palest pink yellow blue
And barely visible white light
With her simple titles:
"Perfect Day" "Friendshil" "Lovely Life"
"Ordinary Happiness" "Love"

Octogonal she explains from antiquity on
8 was the symbol for Eternity
I sit there on a bench with her
At the Harwood in the wing named after her
In front of her paintings
She holds my hands
Ancient child

Blank bank of days

Would you like to see my studio?
She says when we come out of the museum
Into the empty adobe street
In the blinding sunlight on another planet
The air extinguished by the heat

I try to work every morning she says
But I haven't been well this last year
She pushes open the unlocked door
A small clean bare space
An old bed with a blanket over the mattress
A hardback chair
And a number of state-of-the-art stretchers
Stacked against a wall waiting
And two new paintings

They might be finished she says

Blank bank of days

Waiting for the clouds to lift
To sail out
Into the clearing

Plaza de Retiro
We pull back into the driveway
Would you like to come in and visit some more?
I would like that she says

We sit on the couch in her living room
No sign of who she is
Except for a poster and a few announcements
Of recent shows on the walls
And a new catalogue
Amidst a handful of books on Buddhism
On the one-shelf cinderblock bookshelf

On the ottoman of the Eames chair
A folio of prints
Of a rather well-known contemporary artist
Or someone else whose work resembles his
Perhaps a recent visitor?

Blank Bank of days

Waiting of the moments
Between the months weeks years

Fog of days of life that goes on
Is only what is seen and not beyond

When it all clears
And the light is there
The cloudless blue of the sky

To fly above the cloud bank
And coast along

Into the light
The fields of time

Bandwidhts of pastel
Fields of palest pink yellow blue
And barely visible white light
Tune us in
Channel us
To where we should be
Happiness Peace Joy


  © 2015 Deborah Elliott Deutschman - All Rights Reserved -