Another Landscape Artist

“Hitler applied to an art school when he was 18. Vienna Academy of Art rejected his application, twice. His drawings which he presented as evidence of his ability, were rejected as they had too few people in them. The examining board did not want just another landscape artist.”

I

Bring me a canvas

The size of a continent. Give me red, blue,

and a neutral hue of yellow too,

Heir teacher—mother, it’s not my nature

to mind the borders. I am the World’s Worst 2nd

grader, I will scribble and scramble as I please.

No Heir Chamberlain, I cannot

cannot appease this call to squeeze

the color out of the crayon into fluid, liquid paint.

Mother, look. What do you think?

Finger painting is Mein Kampf

when I paint facial hair. I want a bushy beard

like those old Prussian Emperor’s but

there is only enough black paint left

for a square above my upper lip.

II

I am a big boy now. I can mark the borders now.

Look mother, look Heir teacher! Behold

the buildings I created at the tip of my

pencil—the straight, symmetrical marble columns

of my palaces, grand arches, and coliseums

fit for Olympians—all of them in complete order.

Don’t mind the people, they are just scribbles,

like smoke rising from a furnace. This paper race is

easy to erase. Their only function is to lead the eye to my

focal point by an outstretched arm lifted in awe.

III

No more pencils, give me brushes

I am the Jackson Pollock of nations.

Sliding a trail of axis-crimson

paint behind my armored bicycle,

and blitzkrieg pedal across the canvas.

The white of the canvas is all but gone.

The judges turn in shock.

How can fools understand

My art? Pure inspiration these critics

And officials call grotesque. Blind

Fools they be, misplacing ribbons and praise

To impure races. I will show them better days.

I’ll paint my heart upon the world’s face, that beats

and beats uncaged. All my dreams and all my rage

and talent that is in my kindergarten kingdom.

Icy Icarus

 “[Daedalus] fitted the newly created wings on the boy’s shoulders. While he worked and issued his warnings the ageing man’s cheeks were wet with tears: the father’s hands trembled.”

                                                                                                                Ovid—Metamorphoses

“This cabin is a prison.”

Ian’s kid sister, Sicilia, was crocheting while watching David Bowie as Goblin Monarch in Labyrinth. A ball of white yarn withered near her slippers.

“Dad, let’s take the snowmobiles out.” Ian began to tap his foot. “Just around the lake.”

“They aren’t quite done yet,” Dallas’s calloused hand engineered another handful of kettle corn.

“I don’t want to,” Sicilia said. David Bowe was staring sideways out the 12-inch television screen. It was the finale with all the stairs.

“Who invited you anyway?” Ian cocked his head. “Let’s go dad, just you and me.”

Dallas turned to his queen covered in a robe of quilts. His wife, Cynthia, just stared. Her caramel eyes syruped over the screen—hypnotized by those sideway eyes. She hoofed another handful of trail mix. Dallas looked for cues as Cynthia grinded her grains in a circular, open-jaw motion. Nothing.

“Oh com’on Dad or we’ll have to wait ‘til next Thanksgiving.”

Dallas looked again. Cynthia just snorted her flu into the cotton, quilt cocoon and continued to feed like a half-human Minotaur grazing on the couch.

v

Dallas straddled his snowmobile.

“There’s no need to hurry, the snow isn’t going nowhere.” Dallas’ handed his son the keys. His father hands trembled. It wasn’t the cold. “Respect the double yellow line.”  Dallas said. Ian had failed the driver’s ED course that summer. He passed a semi on a two-way freeway—double yellow line and all. Sicilia never let Ian live it down.

“Don’t worry dad, I’ll take it slow.” Ian’s snowmobile ignited like his 16-year old smile. “and besides, in the snow there are no lanes—just jumps.” Ian slid on his razor orange ski goggles.

v

The air was crisp. Dallas crossed the arched bridge first and looked back; his son soar over another snowy mound. Ian had wings. “Did you see that?!” Ian yelled from the opposite bank.

“Just slow down on the bridge son,” but Dallas’ son wouldn’t listen; maybe it was the roar of his motor or his adrenaline laugh.

Ian revved again.

Ian aimed another jump for the bridge. Dallas watched as his son overshot and glided frictionless over the lakebed.

Dallas’ heart cracked. So did the ice.

v

The city streets were congested like Dallas’ nose. The city was trying to flee reality for the three-day weekend.

Dallas whistled a cab.

“Where to?”

“Memorial park on 21st.”

The man clocked his paid-ometer. The radio asked, “Where will you be this Black Friday?”

Cynthia chose not to shop. She stayed home with Sicilia. Dallas had offered the cabin to his brother that year and wondered if he’d ever go back.

 “Let’s give thanks for our health and our families,” the radio continued. Dallas crossed the city bridge in holiday traffic to meet his son.

Sons of Adam

Hair slicked back, black Cadillac
showing off the shoes that never let off the gas,
“Don’t blame us for your lack of ambition.”
Malthus drives like a desperado, hands the shotgun to Riccardo,
Sporting his iron-platted armor suit
that’s worth more than the Tower of London loot.

“Slow down I’m hungry.” Our knight curbs the silent ride.
“Can’t.” the driver states.
“Just slowdown,” Karl leans in from his backseat,
“You’re going too fast anyway.”

Rubbernecking the scenic, 200-foot chimney tops
Malthus answers, “I wager those are taller than the Tower of London.
Oh what, what? Slow down you say? Ha!
Nonsense—I cut the brakes this morning.”
Karl pauses—his eyes meet the helmet’s visor,
“And besides,” Malthus mumbles, “yield signs are for socialists.”

Karl’s scissors scream, “Revolution” as he cuts
the armored knights seatbelt and kicks him out of the convertible.
Riccardo sparks behind as an involuntary anchor,
the Cadillac decelerates but still rolls on.

A band of tan 7-year olds lunge after the sparks like fireflies
with empty glass jars from their scanty kitchen.
The tarnished yet untorn iron suit barters the litter of aliens
the natural wage for three hand-wrapped burritos
and one of their glass jars full of forehead and armpit sweat.

Politely sipping his salty beverage of choice through the visor,
full pinky extended,
Riccardo falls back into shotgun.
“One burrito for me. One burrito for Malthus,”
then staring at Karl,
“and ’uno mas’ for me.”
Grounded jalapeño bovine falling from his mouth,
“Finders fee you see.”

“I’m telling dad.” Karl says,
hugging his grumbling stomach.
“Just step on it!” the knight gripes to Malthus—
a call which echoes in his hollow suit
all the way home.

Step on it!
Step on it.
Step on it?

New Neverland

Neverland. The land of new rules
and old fools step aside, there’s a new breed passing by
Adjusting to the times.
Never, say “never,” in New Neverland.

The new scene of fallen queens,
crushed dreams
and Tweetybird sings
the blues.

Bugs Bunny struts out the casino
chewin’ a cigar instead of a carrot
Thinkin’ “eh doc, what to buy? What to buy?
oh my oh my . What have we got here?”

That my friend, is the two-timing, two-steppin’ Tinkerbell.
With kicks, giggles, and two-dimensional
Thrills
Only for those who help her, pay the bills

As of late she’s been working the streets for
Kanga, Roo and Whine-the-Pimp of the Hundred Acre Hood
Christopher Robbin will sell you
20 black purple haze
Hooked, ‘til the end of you days

But Baloo the Bear, no he don’t care.
He’s found the newest of “bear necessities,”
a bottle of Bourbon to help forget the memories.

A walk down the block
After you’ve paid your debts and placed your bets
you can watch the brawl with
The MC, pirate captain willing to show it all.

Just last month he was voted Playhook’s
Playhand of the year
With a smile under his minuet hand mustache that ticks and tocks
He ricked and rocked that crowd into hysteria.
“Neverland, Are you ready to rumble?”

“In this corner we have the cranky,
the crafty,
Jiminey Cricket!”

“You better wish upon a star
I dont drop you on the floor,
mouse meat.”

“Now hold on there,” says the captain

“Cause that will rile up the round,
and the ravenous
Guss Guss!”

The two duke it out, weaving in and spitting out
teeth, until J.C. uses his umbrella cane and breaks
Guss Guss’s lower jaw.

Porky Pigg breaks up the mash-pit, “that’s all folks;
nothing left to see here.”

Owl, from his treehouse perch cries out,
“Oh ye wretched souls,”
Softer now, “Oh ye wretched souls.”

Friar Tuck is amused but no one else listens
this Saturday morning
in this New Neverland of
corrupted cartoons