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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tim Tatman by Stewart Ferebee

My buddy Bobby Fisher  just wrote a blog for our friend and anti-hero, the abstract expressionist Tim Tatman. When Tim died last year he left a vacuum in the art world. I dated Tim when I was young and stupid. He was the Sartre to my de Beauvoir, the Miller to my Nin. Here's a poem I wrote about him titled after a painting he gave me called:

How the Mind Works

1)    The quantity of nerve cells in the brain is in direct relation to need.

The sea nettle jellyfish spends
little on the purchase of nerve cells for his brain.
He is bell-shaped and bold beauty
                                    lace of tentacles
                                                    to passive prey.

2)    To hunt active prey you need more nerve cells.

Consider the flatworm,
following sunlight, humidity,
the warmth of leaves.
His brain weighs data
which trigger the oozing of juice
onto a hapless earthworm,
who is dissolved and consumed.

3)    Social animals have larger brains.

Two weeks before death
                                                                a honeybee is set free
from currying combs, setting wax.
                      Now a forager
he fluffs food from purple coneflowers
reads the sundial
times the flower
for nectar signals
and takes note
in a flower diary.
Returns at the precise moment
the petals open for penetration.

4)    Survival depends on our ability to learn.

My last boyfriend painted large canvasses.
He’d come to bed smelling
of linseed oil
and turpentine.
Once he’d aroused me
he’d return to his paints.
In the henna of daybreak
I’d consider my naked form,
full moon breasts, burnt sienna hair
thick with the wet oil of color.
                                                          One day
I noticed the hair in a painting
was red, yellow, cerulean,
the eyes chartreuse, with teacup breasts,
not like mine.

5)    To kill a scorpion you crack its husk.  Once you figure this out, you’ve mastered the technique for life.

 originally published in the The Cafe Review