Joan Miro’s Constellations in Love

The constellations we were given were
at war with each other, with nature
or with themselves, Greeks in their labors,
hunting for food or hope, running from fear.
These were the stories those long dead sailors
used to discover where they were and how
to get to the next place, leaning over the bow
of a boat guided by all that ancient horror.
And here Miro changes how we see the sky.
You cock your head, and Ursa Minor isn’t
Arcas turned into a bear to fool Hera. Our
guiding North Star is now a part of Sally,
single mother of two girls. She hasn’t
stopped loving. She scatters stars around her.


Joan Miro’s World Trade Center Tapestry

This morning I find myself thinking
about Miro and how the tapestry
burned on that day. I think about how we
watched it on the news, the towers coming
down again and again. This morning
I’m thinking about all that art Nazis
stole and destroyed or lost. I think about how they
taught it in school. I think about it burning.
This morning, I’m thinking about this poem,
which will be lost during a tragic moment,
and if I’m lucky someone will mourn it
it and me. If I’m lucky, it will be forgotten,
except for someone who will say it meant
something to him. He’ll wish it wasn’t lost.


Joan Miro’s Harlequin’s Carnival

Miro’s Harlequin’s Carnival is not
my kind of party, but then I never
lived through the Great War. Miro had suffered
with the rest of Europe, and it must
have seemed like the end of drudgery,
the end of pointless death and famine,
the end of newspapers that were reporting
the death of friends in other countries.
Or maybe he knew it was only a pause.
Maybe the color and hooting glee
suggested by Miro’s figures were just right
for that moment, what he needed because
war, he knew, was hovering always
near, and he might as well lose himself tonight.


John Brantingham was Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ first poet laureate. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines, Writers Almanac, Rabid Oak, and The Best Small Fictions 2016. He has nineteen books of poetry and fiction including his latest, Life: Orange to Pear (Bamboo Dart Press). He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College.