Alessandra Bava

From Jackson, With Love
by Alessandra Bava

(for Jackson Pollock and Ruth Kligman, artists & lovers, after Pollock’s last painting “Red, Black & Silver”)

It was the summer of illicit


circa 1956.

Those hands that dripped paint

would also hold Ruth (his mistress) on the rug

in her attic. His brush collecting

polar bear hair at each kiss would

later do the magic.

The tiniest

painting—orange, gray & bluish hues


a present of liquid color

like quicksand.

She would hold on to it

(as to him) forever.

That’s what she thought,

the night he had stormed into that

crummy-looking bar as a blowing

trumpet. Given the chance,

she had told him how—

watching a black & white painting of

his months earlier—

she had surrendered to

the awe, the spiraling

beauty, the rivers of lines flooding her


with his rage & the omnivorous breaking of his


That’s what she thought

when his Oldsmobile convertible

started colliding

and crashed, leaving

him dead

and her alive—

a canvass

full of scars—

much like that             empty pool of color

holding polar bear hair in it:

his very last token of

legitimate love.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 3.

Alessandra BavaWhen she is not translating, Alessandra Bava is writing the biography of a contemporary American poet. Her poems have appeared in Plath Profiles, THRUSH, Empty Mirror and Left Curve, among others.Two of her chapbooks have been published in the States: They Talk About Death (a winner of Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook contest, 2014) and Diagnosis (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). She blogs at

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