TAR
MICHELANGELO AT THE SISTINE CHAPEL

You must have been some
paint-splotched spider as you
swung from Adam to Jesus
high in the silk of your web.
Or maybe a yogi who laid
for endless hours on his back
making the radiant connection
between God and man. Was it
all there in the bright chapel
of your eyes? Let enough marble
fall, you said, and David steps
forth from rock. And here, in the
high heaven of your arms, was it
not the cut of empty space that
compassed hand and heart?
The heavenly host came forth
from trembling clouds. You were
deep in the wires of your faith.
Were you not the parish priest?
The one who blessed the elements?
The one who came and stared, who
turned red and brown and white
to blood, hands, the very flesh
of God?


John Valentine




THE FLYING WALLENDAS

How delicately you eased the human pyramid
onto the thin edge of nothingness, step by serious
step, the long poles seesawing, teetering this way
and that, calming then to find the middle way of
balance. And all your faces lost in concentration,
the rapt eyes, the way a tiger slowly inches across
a raging river stone by slippery stone, as if his very
life depended on it. How you seemed a city floating
in mid-air. How Gravity was but an elegant ringmaster
tipping his hat in awe. You flew like dying men across
the netless void. You sailed along the sky. The crowd
was hushed. Children held their breath. How silent
were the clowns. And even Death, sitting in the box seats
taking down your names, had to admit that never, never
in his whole life had he ever seen anything like it.


John Valentine
JOHN VALENTINE teaches at an art college in Savannah, Georgia, and has had a few publications in regional journals.  This is his first appearance in The Adirondack Review.