Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Terrible Artist

It seemed to me noble: one ought to impart
to the terrible artist he’d no taste for art.
I’d come to believe I could do him a service
as sure as I was that, of course, he’d be nervous
observing me tear down the walls of the fortress
he’d hidden behind, falsely thinking his portraits
were trenchantly sensitive, witty and fine,
and which proved him an elegant master of line
who avoided the pretty in favor of factual,
scraping off surfaces, finding the actual.
One faintly admired an offhand facility,
but how could one bear the clichés his ability
lazily dropped like a rabbit drops pellets:
relying on mindless reflexes that zealots
whose brains had abstained from all thinking
adduced to be grand. His dreck left you sinking.
I cleverly knew the best way to begin
to unravel him out of the terrible sin
of his patent refusal remotely to see
how he’d failed, was to have him draw me.
He was done in an hour. The thing horrifies.
It’s entirely made of unspeakable lies.
No trace of my face. But I doubt I’ll survive it.
Look how it dies. Not a thing can revive it.

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