These three poems by Paula Goldman portray her deep immersion in art, her love of the poetic form, and her profound fascination with complex issues of the human heart…
by: Paula Goldman
Winter Light Calm lake, clouds hover a hazy horizon, gray light over the lake spreading into mist over a barren bluff. A coyote dashes below my window, its yaps, howls, haunting, the icy light of its gaze, chilling. A neighbor’s dog barks. Oh, frozen lake, I keep returning or do you return to me? His words, strands of pearls, dangling down my back, the closer we sought, the further apart we grew, walking the beach along the lake, he left my heart with stones, shells, broken.
The Nude after Braque’s Seated Nude, 1906 In Braque’s Seated Nude, green is his oasis in the Sahara of her back, her shoulder blades, undulating ridges before the drop down the steep arid bone well to moss covered hips, the hug of damp shadows, seeping into the wide draped towel. I hike down the shale-slick of one hilltop breast, sloped abdomen into strawberry patches. I smell her summer: green vining upward like cool Galway drafts, an absinthe mirage from the hallucinatory sweat of his paintbrush. I go aslant, wind her in my own bold lines, to keep me entwined in the lush lap of Braque’s Seated Nude, 1906.
A Poet's Sleeve The blouse was light pink, nothing out of the ordinary, mauve or peach, except for the lush silk satin, billowing upon my arm. The buttons were plain, not mother-of- pearl, leading to a round collar,— “worn open or closed depending upon your accessories,”— the saleswoman spoke by rote. The pleats in back gave it sweep and sway, a romantic elegance, I saw in the three-way mirror. And from the wide generous sleeves, wreathed by a single ruffle, my shy fingers peeked. Was the blouse really me? But when, suddenly, she added “a poet’s sleeve”— I wanted as many shirts as Gatsby: shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms….
Paula Goldman’s first book, The Great Canopy, won the Gival Press Poetry award, and was honorable mention for the Independent Booksellers’ Award. Her work has appeared in the Evening Street Review, Atlanta Review, Visions International, Halcyone Literary Quarterly, Santa Fe Literary Review, Dash, Oyez Review, Slant, Calyx, Passager, Ekphrasis, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Manhattanville Review, Cream City Review, Comstock Review, Harvard Review, The North American Review, Poet Lore, Poet Miscellany, Hawaii Pacific Review, Cæsura, Briar Cliff Review and other magazines. Her poems have appeared in Boomer Girls published by the University of Iowa Press, The Party Train: A Collection of North American Prose Poetry published by New Rivers Press and most recently, Conversation Pieces published by Knopf. She was first prize winner in INKWELL’s (Manhattanville College) poetry competition and the Louisiana Literature Award for poetry. She holds an MA degree in Journalism from Marquette University and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Former reporter for The Milwaukee Journal, she served as a docent and lecturer at the Milwaukee Art Museum for 25 years. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize 2017 and for 2021. She lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband, married 54 years having two grown children and three grandchildren. A second book, Late Love, was published by Kelsay Books February, 2020.