We were standing in the
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Here are painters who want to communicate
They show up on their canvases
Emotive, sensual, engaging,
Pouring over the edges with ideas

They are Hydrogen, capable
Of the complex chain of reactions
Required to fuel a galaxy
Rauschenberg, Mitchell, de Kooning
All Hydrogen molecules
Dancing, spinning, arguing
Contrasting the inert gasses across the hall
Nonreactive as Krypton,
From kryptos, “the hidden one”

It is actually a skill,
This art of invitation
Creating works capable of fusion
Viewer, artist, and painting,
Conspiring toward explosions
A dangerous, naked,
And frightening proposition
Can you blame the countless artists,
Hiding behind flat surfaces,
Incapable of combustion,
Unable to make the invitation?