"Rothko On" by Richard Stuecker

What we recall are not memories but old emotions disturbed or resolved—some sense of well-being suddenly shadowed by a cloud—yellow ochres strangely suffused with a drift of gray prevailing over an ambience of rose or the fire diminishing into a glow of embers, or the light when the night descends. Duncan Phillips

I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions—tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on. Mark Rothko


After the Calder slowly in motion across the grand entrance,

I find the Rothko Room, large canvases on each wall in

conversation with one another, colors pulsating in sync.

I stand static as a stabile at their vortex, as though struck by a

thunderbolt, no, something more ecstatic, perhaps what saints

or repentant sinners feel at the moment of exultation, no exegesis needed.


Inside I feel the sensations I once felt in the Mirror Maze finding

myself seeking an ID in the gap before I die, having worn

so many faces until now, so many reflections on the walls of glass

a hysteria I felt at the thought I’d never get out, my face over and over just eyes,

bodiless, slamming again and again into walls of glass I thought would lead

me to freedom, losing myself until at last I stumbled out, into a new life.


Rothkos need Rothkos on every wall, each seeking the other, forming a tourbillion,

pulling me into my center, like a remembered dream, reminding of a time

when I was all together, perhaps on a beach at sunrise, healing light,

the colors of Rothko at dawn, #10, walking with my friend into the sun, when all was

possible, life forming, like the curtain rising on a favorite play, leading to an unseen