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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Steven Carter

Velasquez’ Maids of Honor

Brown, luminous, sparkling with curiosity, the eyes have it.

But the little girl’s pretty angel hair—she is a princess—belies those no-nonsense lips ready to purse; something’s not quite right in her world.

Hello? She’ll be a force to be reckoned with when she grows up.

This sweetheart will break hearts: from failed love, no: from political contingencies, yes—she’ll marry whomever it’s expedient to marry. But there’s more: Velazquez was the first artist to use light as a creative medium—for him illumination doesn’t embellish the world, it is the world.

If this sounds like Impressionism, not to worry: Monet and Renoir did their homework in Velasquez.

wings open to the moon
a lace-wing moth

. . . My heart was broken, or bent at least, when I was 12 years old. The girl was no Spanish princess—ah, but she had angel hair—and she taught me a lifelong lesson: Suffering, like art, doesn’t evolve. I was in as much pain then, sixty years ago, as I would be later on in college, when a dark-haired girl from San Diego pulled the plug on our love affair.

Once upon a summer seeds were planted in my heart: still germinating as we speak, still summoning an ironic smile when I recall the poet’s line:

I want to ask Christ to give me back my childhood.

60’s radio
Jim Morrison—
This is the end