Author's Note: The way I imagined it, all three of these imaginary paintings were executed by the same imaginary artist.
Three Imaginary Paintings
An isosceles triangle broods over
an august ashtray, a carved Hindu
box, a plaster skull resting on a
tiny plaster tome. His thick black
Mont Blanc lies continentally
atop a rhomboidal suicide note or
shopping list. One supposes there wasn’t
much to eat. A smack of black
against a shiv of steel, a bottle
of ink squats beside an ancient
stapler. Is that a family heirloom?
One guesses at what’s been drawn
away from, the oil of fingerprints
making dearer much handled things,
how the blotter desiccates the scene
and the substantial shaft of light
drops like a yellow guillotine.
The foreground whistles a scherzo of green
and orange. Pines lean in to hear the joke
Apollo whispers to an unperturbed
and elongated cat. Hilarious
hare’s-tail grass twists and whorls like woolly smoke
carded by a jovial knee-slapping wind.
Three suns, no less, unzip a bluejean sky
while four-engined larks, juggled by a
clownish copper beech, croon bliss above
a coruscating purple pond. Details
amuse: the maple with a band-aid on
its bark, the crawling baby who dumps her
diaper in a privet hedge, two rabbits
coupling in the shadow of the great Pan.
Oh, brush kissed canvas that day, smooched for joy
to make the busy world one comedy,
of all doomed men one immortal boy.
With no anchor of wall, floor, easel, door
he floats on unpainted canvas, a mote
in a gulf of monkish self-absorption.
The forehead rolls up above the nose
like a window shade over a crooked spike.
Extravagant eyes scorn to regard us
looking, hint at some unfathomable
forgiveness. The slack shoulders, concave chest,
flaccid hands betray a ruined repose,
a clogged drain five or six degrees below
the nadir of his pride. His brain shows through
where he’s shaved off his hair; scathing lines
of chrome yellow crisscross elegant brows;
parentheses bind his frown’s corners to
his cheeks, an aspect blistered more than raw.
We must surmise the fire in the cruel
mind’s eye that burnt up everything he saw.
“Three Imaginary Paintings” first appeared in Black River Review
© 2019 Robert Wexelblatt
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