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On View
January 9 – February 14, 2016
New York

Elevated above seawater
The statuesque “Blond’s [towering] in the Sun [as a] Lifeguard.”
Sitting on the chair with her bikini, made of three dabs of Naples yellow,
She welcomes two friendly swimmers to her vast pool.

They happily leave their worried bodies to drip, hover, sail horizontally
In the heavenly Floaters, against the infinite horizon,
Under the static, well-lit constellation,
Encouraged to unwind in this cosmic theater.

Ah, the first time we swim—swimming has its own
Law of gravity. Sometimes take a deep breath
To anticipate the luminosity of eclipsing bodies and stars.
What a pity for those who never learned how to float and swim!
Orbits of diving board springs on some occasions disrupt the
Majestic horizontal plan.

Milky water gently bathes the happy population of seasoned
Blue Swimmers and fish.
Her ‘lightness of being’ has engendered this
Masterful comic of the deep blue sea (that only she has seen).

She, he, heshe Couple Swim off the left edge of an intimate vista against
The sun’s egg-yolk eye of endless potential.
Why not swim upward toward the sun without
The worry of waxed wings?
There, some of us notice Surf Party is an everyday affair
For Gods and mortals alike.

Why have a Fear of Waves? A mere temporary cleaning agent,
They have cleared off a woebegone dinner table in favor of
A playful democracy of aquarian unity.

Paint drips wishing to replace the water’s splash cry out
With exquisite innocence.
Fathers float in mid air
Look collectively downward toward the Surfer
At 70 degrees, and Swim Team Outer Space at 45.

My math is hopeless, my father once told me when I was ten. So what!
Why bother to connect point and lines to plane?
Kandinsky, Picasso, and Guston must have first raised the alarm
That became unending esteem.
Here empty space fills volumes of the transfixed void.
People in boats, ships, liners, and other floating forms
Are set free to swim whichever way, and whatever direction they please.



Katherine Bradford, Floaters, 2015. Acrylic on canvas. 22 × 28 inches. Courtesy CANADA Gallery.




Phong Bui

Phong H. Bui is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

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