Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Backward Art

Two creatures announce that they want to be Art.
Should I want to take part in this serious enterprise I must
agree to their terms. First, be furnished with four virgin
pencils which range from the adamantine to the charcoal,

full spectrum of faintness to darkness and hard unto soft,
whose lofty encompassing goal will consist of the mission
to cast all life's tattle-tale shadows and blurry penumbra
and unthinking dashes and untrammeled scratches

and whirls and elliptical pearls of the kind that Vermeer
had in mind in his sketches of girls. But banish all color,
they said, that's what Art ought to do: "in black and in white
to go forward" as they will take frequent occasion to say

is the only acceptable way to achieve how they'd like us
to see them: in cold naked light – in perpetual flight to their
bold perpetuity: "what the sparest and barest and purest of art
ought to be," said the creatures to me when I started to pout

that I couldn't spread out my Crayola payola on this dreary grey
panoply. But I carried it out: I went in and I routed about and came
up with the smudgiest black-and-white thing, and you know,
I suspect that its elements do after all rather forcibly swing

to the offhanded flow and the stylish sway of how they say
they want art to look. I’ll have done what they asked: let them
bask: they're the winner. I’m thinking of dinner right now, anyway:
some slight poignant mischief and glee let me see what to cook.

all the hues I forsook. Red, yellow and green, pink, blue/purple
purée: sometimes sweet, sometimes tart, hot and acrid. Art
should go forward! they said and they say, every night
before going to bed. I am going to get at it backward.


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