Look closely at this space

A viaduct of a puente inspired by this painting by Mark Rothko.

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Look closely at this space


Trace the line of paint

with your finger.

A block

calm as midnight sits

in a raging sea of red

an island haven

a place of safety in the flood of war


~solid as a mountain fortress~


it squats, a bunker


blackened by time

and smoke of incinerated lives

carbonised carapaces

still seething

with red-billowed hatred.


~turning your thoughts inwards~


you bolt the door on the clamour

of contradictory messages

clap hands over your ears to keep out

the cries of the drowning

or perhaps you long to cast yourself

into the sea of blood

and fight salamanders in their fiery caves


~with your bare hands, like a hero~


you face the growing darkness

that is neither gentle night nor the end of time

but something in-between—­­

the banality of life.

The midnight blue drips

into the grey of a bleak dawn

and its face has your eyes.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

29 thoughts on “Look closely at this space”

      1. I read that it started off as a Roman Catholic chapel then became ecumenical. I wonder why? Rothko wasn’t a Catholic that I know of, or even a Christian. I’ve never seen what the paintings look like except that there are crucifxes in there somewhere.

      2. Art is a religion here.
        Openendness – more Houston than structured religion.
        (Pres. candidate Marianne Williamson went to my HS – a grade or so behind. She’s not so unusual for this area. )
        His paintings are often big enough to lose yourself in. The whole building is a canvas
        Quite remarkable. Impacts anyone who goes in

      3. Nothing compares to standing in front of the real thing. I remember seeing in person a group of Turner paintings of sea, sky, mists
        Both the Rothko and Menil are quite protective of their paintings/rights.
        Couldn’t get either?

      4. Thanks! These are the paintings of his I recognise. The early work is so much more colourful than the later. I know he’s not a colour chart, but that’s what I get out of his paintings.

  1. Wow–this was wonderful, Jane. I love how the single lines connect the different thoughts.
    I think the black is like a black hole–or maybe that’s not right because they absorb everything–but something like that because it seems bottomless.

    1. Thank you! I’m pleased you like this. I enjoy this puente form though I’m not sure the bridge is meant to have more than one arch. I don’t get Rothko except as colour symbolism. You’re right, the black does seem bottomless.

      1. Yes, I think might have read somewhere that there is only one bridge arch, but make I think I’ve written them with more. Perhaps we have islands that need to be connected.

      2. I suppose the real idea behind the puente is to have a balance and you don’t get that if the bridge keeps on springing. Never mind, it’s a different effect, but valid all the same 🙂

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