by Kevin Neary
I snapped the picture as
the sun set
between the buildings on West 111th Street.
The light and shadow were stunning.
The next day
I sat for an aeon staring at a sunset on canvas.
Expansive, glowing, red-orange through that massive cloud.
That hot and humid
evening in July
the air at street level was stifling.
on the observation deck
of a building that no longer exists
the air moved slowly
as the sun sank into a mosaic of colors,
too multifarious to describe.
there had been no film in the camera.
— Ни один фильм в камере –
In 1979, while on summer break from the Culinary Institute,I was spending the weekend with friends at their apartment in Manhattan. I think it was on the 12th floor. Looking out a window at that height provides an interesting perspective of Manhattan. The summer temperatures can be oppressive in the city. So, the second day, I stayed inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was comfortable compared to the awful July heat. I was captivated by a painting, Red Sunset on the Dnieper by Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi. That grand oil on canvas is the second sunset mentioned in the poem. I watched the third sunset from the top of the World Trade Center– outdoor observation deck. At that time, it was the tallest building in the world and had only been open for a few years. As I was growing up, I could see the World Trade Center — thirty miles away from the kitchen window of my parents home. I remember seeing the building rise above the skyline, during the many months of construction.
The last line in the poem is translated from Russian and it means — no film in the camera. It is a tip O’ the hat to the Russian painter.
Here is something interesting; three of Kuindzhi’s students became famous landscape painters, following in the footsteps of their teacher.
Here are each of the three artist’s profiles accompanied by a sunset painting.