Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“Dreaming of Picasso”

Poet-photographer Lola White has published poems in a variety of literary magazines since 1977, and her photographs have been shown in a number of galleries. During the 1990s she conducted a poetry program for Nashville’s Talking Library, presenting such diverse writers as Philip Levine, Ann Patchett, Jeff Hardin, and Bill Brown. White has worked as a department-store wrapper, teacher, jewelry maker, folksinger, and bookseller. She lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dreaming of Picasso

Oh, Pablo! I cry, and my laughter
plays flute to his cello.

He offers me a bowl of fruit;
I choose a pear.

He eats my pear & hands me
back the core, smiling, sly.

He asks me to play chess;
I tell him I don’t know how.

Saying the rules are not important,
he hands me another pear.

Eat it, he says, keep talking, keep moving. I eat, I talk,
I move, relaxing naked against a bright fringed shawl.

He paces, his hands like a magician’s,
drawing doves and flowers from the air.

He’s all energy, his eyes, caves
full of bright surprises: fishbones,

bits of pottery, small quick creatures
like packrats scurrying from cache to secret cache.

I take the last bite of pear, dangle the core
by the stem, about to place it on the table at my side.

Stop! he cries, Don’t move!
and with a fat black crayon he begins to draw.

I laugh again, knowing when he’s done
my profile will be on the side of my head,

my feet huge and distant, my breasts
on my shoulders, where, clearly, they belong.

Oh, Pablo! I cry, & flutes & cellos, fishbones,
pears and doves tumble down around me.

Oh, Pablo!