(photo: Doris Ulmann)
(excerpt from an upcoming book project)
Let me make for you a painting. Let me paint for you a hand.
Weathered like rock. Brown as the soil.
Powerful when clenched, gentle when open.
Skin like worn leather.
Fingers red from strong tobacco.
If there was a color for the smell of sweat, the painting of this hand would dazzle.
Thick veins, blue as the poorest ear of corn entangle it.
Let me shadow this hand with motion — a hawk, an eagle, a dove.
Let me reveal to you the cracked and dirty nails, a laborer’s fingers.
Let me show to you the scar from a fight, from a hundred fights, from a lifetime of fighting. I will paint for you this scare with pride.
Black for the ash, yellow for the sulfur within the ash across the palm. And now you see it as a factory hand.
From the hand extends the arm into the shadows of the man…I can not paint the rest clearly for who can say what a man looks like?
But the hand.
The hand is enough.
With each final brush stroke it, it breathes. It speaks. Of tribal legends. Of magic. Of glorious dreams. Of sadness of life beyond the dreams. Betrayals — Of the mountain peaks. The sun. The water — Of the factory whistle. The smokestack. The dying blackness…
A sad hand, grasping…
Let me make for you a painting.
Let me paint for you a hand.