Poetry

While Reflecting on the Paintings at The Mill

Each canvas

displays a struggle,

a conquest

of human will over physical matter.

 

“I let the cosmos ripen,”

says the painter,

“just long enough for it

to sprout elements,

(not one eon more),

 

“When the metals bloomed

I plucked them,

seeded them,

and crushed the seeds

so small,

they would forget themselves

if introduced to oil

or bound to water.

 

“A child was born.

When I was ready

I crushed that, too.

 

“I smeared

each gooey, bleeding offspring

on the pinboard with its brothers.

Baby Frankensteins

broken,

drowned,

and dried onto canvas

by my loving hand.

Each infant of the universe

frozen in beautiful mutilation.

 

“It won’t last.

 

“Eventually,

Grandmother Entropy

will restore paint, canvas, and painter

all to the former glory of

ash,

like a phoenix in reverse.

 

“But for now my trophies hang.”

Prose Fiction · scripts

Paint No Rest for the Wicked

 

[SCENE: COLLEGE DORM, DAY]

X: I think I downloaded a virus.

Y: A virus?

X: (affronted) Yeah, I mean, not on download-a-virus.com. I don’t go looking for these things.

Y: What were you looking for?

X: The old Microsoft Paint.

Y: For…

X: Nostalgia. Back in middle school I had a computer with no internet connection – for homework. So I became the master of Paint. I learned all the tricks. (beat) But this version’s too flashy.

Y: (beat) Wait, we’re talking about MS Paint?

X: Yeah, look at this new garbage. (motions to computer) See, I liked the garishness of the old Paint, the kind on Windows XP. The brush strokes didn’t fade or blend like this.

Y: (non-committal) Uh-huh.

X: So you could make these bold, solid, ugly lines. And, as long as you closed your strokes correctly, you could fill the shapes with any garish, bright color you wanted. Complete fill. No fuzz or matting on the edges.

Y: I’m not sure I…

X: Gosh, I had so much fun. Painting edits of my friends’ photos. They were so cartoony, but I loved using the eyedropper and pencil tools to blend in microscopic patches of colors, pixel by pixel sometimes. The clicking got tedious, but I was drawn to it, this idea that with enough patience I could construct the Mona Lisa. It felt like I was interacting with the smallest possible unit of art.

Y: (beat) Don’t you…have a paper to finish tonight?

X: I’m waiting for a page to load in another window.

Y: Dang. That’s a slow connection.

X: Yeah, I think it’s from the virus.