A Question of Painting Resolved


With a throwing down of the easel
the paints rise against the artist,
conspiring to release his palette knives,
who will show him no mercy.

Nevertheless he refuses
to surrender to color, plotting
his escape with the help of blind critics
who know routes underground
past retrospectives of impressionists
posted on the shoreline,
their gray checks scanning the sea.

Condemned to a life on the run,
he perceives every shape a potential informant
and hides between the lines,
walking softly in canvas shoes, aware
readymade police are set to storm
on the shakiest hint of an installation,
armed with the stiffened hairs of sable brushes
and a spray of turpentine.

J. R. Salling is an antiquarian bookseller in Columbus, Ohio, specializing in early modern science, magic and medicine. His writings have appeared in many on-line and print publications, including Ars Medica, Dark Horizons, Pindeldyboz, Hobart, NOÖ Journal, Opium Magazine, elimae, Thieves Jargon, and Mad Hatters’ Review.