Autumnal eternity

Taught she was beautiful before humility could root
Indoctrinated by her birth on a pedestal too high
She was an innocent sapling set on a dying course

Abscission befell her heart to protect the whole
As people shed from her life, more then pruned away
Sacrificing her sanity in autothysic carnage

All that endures is marcescent hope without the will
A tenuous attachment in her everlasting autumn
Rattling the bars of its cage with each suspiration

In acts of dehiscence, she releases scarlet leaves
Then waters them in their descent from her boughs
Ever casting umbrageous gazes upon those beneath her

Alone in accelerated deciduosity, an autumnal eternity
Too small to touch the sky, too tall to touch the ground
She curses time in her turbulent fall before wintertide

art: Portrait Practice by Mandy Jurgens

She’ll never know

Wonderstruck, she beheld her kingdom
Incomprehensible, the path of her ascendancy
In the sempiternal pause of a heartbeat
A king’s inscrutable command for his princess, or a father’s incoherent rhapsody for his daughter

She’ll never know

Her two greatest loves vanquished in a breath, and now she looks out upon the other
A commoner, no one suspected for it was unimaginable
He stands stoic, his gaze lifted toward his queen
Yielding not to the jubilation around him
Yielding not to welling springs
He knew they would be untogether hereafter
What of a man who swells her heart with venom for the country she must now care
Is it possible to love too deeply

She’ll never know

Now the queen, she must uphold the law of her forebears
Anachronistic they may be, she must put first that which binds the lands built by her ancestors
Perhaps she can change them, she is, of course, now the queen
What of a man who beguiles her avarice to seek desires over the sine qua nons of rule
Is she so arrogant to think she can bend the will of the gods

She’ll never know

It felt like an age ago when he grabbed her attention
Even now, his distant presence takes her breath away
He has unapologetically stolen her heart
And the only thing he yet holds as his own, is her hand
If only now, it was his to take
What of a man who would thieve the world, and lay it at her feet
Is she courageous enough to be the queen of only one

She’ll never know

art: by Aaron Griffin

Ophilia

Cecilia paused. She could never remember their names. Perhaps she is never told; perhaps she is made to forget. Briefly wondering how many have come and gone, she then decides that names are ultimately inconsequential, before lamenting sotto voce, “What’s in a name…”

They are only labels. She’d been given many labels by the therapists, in their vain attempts to understand her. Sufferer of pictophilia or metrophilia or autagonistophilia or whatever ~ilia sprang into their desperate minds. It never occurred to Cecilia, though, that her concupiscence was “suffering.”

Just a harmless fetish or two, not madness. There is surely a difference. Not all ~ilias are dangerous, after all. So what, if she was drawn to artists. So what, if she was excited by the intensity of their piercing gaze, as they painted her portrait. They’d proclaim it was amore a prima vista, amidst their subtle seductions.

She felt like they bore into her soul; the only ones who could see her, see her secrets, see her desires. She supposed, none truly ever could. Although, the best of them could capture something in the portraits; in her eyes. Something thrilling, yet unfamiliar, someone deep inside whom she longed to know.

Cecilia stroked a finger across the clotting rue. She’d let them paint her, then she’d let them paint her. She was in control, the seducer; she was the power, and she was powerless.

While massaging the ruby rue between her thumb and forefinger, she turned away pococurante, wondering why Ophilia loved it so. It was one of her fetishes, she assumed. The aroma, or the texture…

Ophilia only visited after Cecilia fell asleep on nights like the last. From what she gathered, for she could never remember waking during the night, Ophilia had her own pruriences. Not the least of which, the therapists would no doubt label erotophonophilia.

It confused and frightened Cecilia, at first. She soon rationalized, however, that it was none of her business how Ophilia spent her evenings. “Come Dio comanda,” she’d think. Ophilia made her whole, so she learned to turn a blind eye to these “cries for help,” as the doctors would say.

Ophilia would also let the artist paint her, surely waking him from contented slumber in a boon to his ego, but afterwards, she’d paint with him. She, too, is an artist, it seems. Cecilia’s portraits always bore a more scarlet hue, the mornings after. Sometimes still wet, and flecked with the telltale rue.

After cleaning herself, Cecilia began to dress. She could never stay long in the mornings; it became habit to muse to herself, “Tanto va la gatta al lardo che ci lascia lo zampino.” She knew Ophilia made it more challenging, but they worked so well together; feeding each other, supporting each other…

The last thing Cecilia would do before leaving, almost reverently, was remove her portrait from the easel. Kleptophilia? Is it really stealing, since Ophilia contributed to the final masterpiece? For they each were masterpieces, regardless of talent. She always kept the paintings to add to their oeuvre. A magnificent gallery of themselves.

Deep in thought after leaving the flat, while neatly rolling the canvas, Cecilia bumped into him outside the door. Upon dropping his paintbox and portfolio, he began profusely apologizing. They always apologized first. She had come to expect it, and found it endearingly opportunistic.

After gathering himself, he saw her for the first time. “E tu come ti chiami, bella?” he put suavely, suddenly envincing machismo. Cecilia smiled, taking him in, as she absentmindedly, elegantly tapped at the ends of the phallic, portrait scroll to straighten the curl.

She then coquettishly replied, “Sei un’artista?”

art: Portrait study #2 by Jeremy Mann

Goodbye

Her wordless withdrawal 
was swallowed by the 
groan of the closing door; 
creeping up his spine, 
it delivered a haunting 
death rattle to his ear 
After the door’s throes 
died away, after the 
last echo of its final 
lament, he whispered, in 
eloquence only brevity 
has mastered, Goodbye 

art: Der Blick by Edward B. Gordon

Flabbergasted

He stood flabbergasted in the open entryway,
darkening a threshold he never again thought he’d cross,
frantically searching the room with as yet adjusted eyes

Backlit by dusk before it drew its curtain closed,
silhouettes of deadheaded roses were strewn upon the table,
casting long, hateful shadows of short, loving memories

The censorious scissors lay haphazardly on the hardwood,
glistening with maddened haste and violent torment,
while diaphanous dust danced on the moonbeam stage above

In a room thick with all the answers to absent, burning questions,
she was the biggest question of all, missing amidst mayhem;
save her tumultuous trail of breadcrumbs escaping between his feet

art: Wondering about the shift by Jeanne Bessette

Ragdoll

See the words it writes, interest piqued
What says things such as this, in this way
Tentatively, first from afar, engage this
Ragdoll
Watch it, jab it, pick it up for examination
Unabashed, no concern for ramification
Curiosity overwhelms, it’s such an unusual
Ragdoll
Does it communicate, try it, see what happens
It does! Its responses are friendly and playful
How and why does it then write that way, this
Ragdoll
Ask it some questions, it’s polite, if not evasive
Even asks them back, interest piqued
Confused, don’t know what to make of this
Ragdoll
What is it thinking, is it alive, does it think so
Does it want to be, why does it project sorrow
Toys should be easier to play with than this
Ragdoll
Dead end, time waster, hurts these wandering eyes
Bored, but there’s a pretty picture over there
Don’t need to think; it can’t feel anyway, this
Ragdoll
Use it for parts, but leave the hearts, and energy
Toss it aside, can’t be helped, can’t be bothered
A broken plaything, it’s not like all the other
Ragdolls

They say he finds

Abrading his eyelids with callous frustration, was enough to draw him away from a particularly potent painting of suicidal ideation

Pain has that effect, but it shares the burden of cause, as well; whether physically or emotionally, it buries its claws quick-deep in both

Two sides of an allusive illusion eluding elucidation

They say, if you imagine being happy, with enough practice, you’ll eventually be happy; he finds happiness burdensome in the same way

So closely tied to pain, that often they become indistinguishable

They say, writing through it can excise the cancer, implanting it instead into the palimpsestic donor at hand; he finds that this is often fraught with potential infection

It may at times offer relief, however it’s a placebic solution dependent upon uncontrollable factors of outside acceptance; so it usually backfires

He doesn’t know if they say anything about ideation, though he supposes it to be frowned upon, as a form of subsistence; perhaps they’d say it’s playing with fire

He’d say that response bethink him of self-immolation; then he finds that they may have a point

…a sharp one

art: i can feel your pain by Ruth Batke