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Night of two stars

By Natalie Safir / July 16, 1985



A sky for simpletons, or so it seems, simple as a paper cut-out. The slight moon a single stroke, plink, Plink -- a bright and a brighter star. (Does it matter they are probably planets?) The unmarred blue canvas free of distractions, no other mark visible. When we looked toward Manhattan the skyline had disappeared. No one was home. A blur where the riversilk spilled to a stop. How to keep it simple as a hand pulling back from a hot stove or the way philodendron leaves pitch toward the light, the sun on your body in October, the way plants know and cats where the comfort is. Simple the way Milton Avery at 60 divides his visual field in two -- sky and sea huge and complete, the remarkable blue free of digression. It took Matisse 90 years to simplify and state a woman, to cut her white body out against the blue -- Matisse seeking what Mallarm'e called ``the place of perfect certainty'' something fundamental said once and for all. If it exists, perfect certainty is where you stand on the simple sentence I am, out under a plain sky, constancy of loyal blue. Now is the only place of certainty, where we do not wrestle the mystery of time, where you stand in the light, where you have no shadow. The patch of irrepressible sunlight dazzling Van Gogh in Provence. You are standing in the light. You have no shadow. Your blood is radiant and quiet.

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