The Painting

There are boundaries to the canvas,
and rules to the taking of pleasure in it.
Every artist knows this, and knows too,
that all such edges are false.
He sees her at a society function for the arts,
standing before an abstract that appears ready
to swallow her; gold made violent, smeared in circles,
symbols and glyphs in white,
slashes of black, seamed by jagged strokes,
as if the painter had torn at his work, in the frenzy
of ripping it from his soul.
She looks, head slightly cocked,
a cigarette in her hand, unlit
(there is no smoking in the gallery).
He moves to stand beside her, and there are boundaries.
Her eyes, seduced by color and shape,
pupils enlarged as the artist’s passion
has invaded them, turn to glance at him.
Those eyes are hungry, deep in art’s transport,
wanting only to tear away facades,
and see the bleeding dark of the canvas
mirrored in another human soul.
He thinks that if he was to take the cigarette
from her hand, push her against the painting,
and whisper that his want is that mirror,
then she would lift her black dress
and tell him to free his cock and fuck her there,
under the skillfully arranged lighting
that illuminates the painter’s lust to see.
She turns away from him, and her hand moves
ever so slightly toward the canvas.
He wants to touch the paintstrokes with her,
feel their texture; weight of want, given form.
How thrilling it would be to touch
such a disturbing creation.
Her hand continues upward, and she puts the cigarette
in her mouth; he sees the smoke of the unlit moment
burning in her lungs.
Her lipstick will leave red marks on it,
when she pulls it from her lips,
painted lines of a kiss untaken.
She smiles, leans forward, and stares into the paint,
a single breath away.

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Poem copyright R. Paul Sardanas

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