At the Artist’s Table

(c) Leonid Afremov

At the artist’s table there’s always a seat
A place to carve art in flesh and wound
To bake sounds with poems and tint
Where the thick brush slithers on the moist greenish cloth
With almighty stains of vermilion and sweat.
I stand nude at my large table
And, bare-handedly, begin to caress the brutal cloth
Which speaks back tales of beginnings and hope
As my imagination becomes a sewing machine
That shoots words and colors like bullets.
I hold hostages all the blank papers towards my release from the blues prison
While a red string commits adultery with my art every Sunday afternoon.

The artist’s table is the whole world viewed from a dying angle
The frowned-upon outsider looking in
Feigning a pas de deux to begin her oeuvre
And end it with a supernova coda, the masterpiece’s last musical cry.
As the spectacle unfolds, I pour myself another glass
In the midst of the dénouement
I proclaim nobody a winner, but the vicious circle of day and night
Day and night
Art is my prayer, my battle, my middle ground,
The playground on which I stretch and stitch myself

At the artist’s table I find closure
And you come find me
Bare-footed, with dreamy eyes
Always made whole by what she creates
But always unfinished
I paint the blues away, sing of possibilities,
Commit all the non-sense,
And dream of an afterlife of heartbreak.

Long live the repetition and the major keys
Arias with tunes of random
Play play play
There is grace and god and stars during daytime
At the artist’s table.

The space around me becomes the whole cosmos
And the little pieces we give birth to
Carry the marks of forgiveness
Of rage and radical honesty
Of emptiness and foul
Don’t colors make life easier to bear?
Shout in ecstasy that this table is all you possess
Then walk hand in hand with your sorrow
In the place where the poet writes a poem
The novelist drafts a novel
The drummer plays the drums
The painter varnishes their canvas
And the lover awaits, and mourns…
What was lost becomes a distant memory
A leaf in the wind – forgotten but vivid
Alive with breaths that hurt the diaphragm, the soul.

Near the window sill
There is scrutinizing of the dead landscape
And in the lonely hour
When the clock ticks the last goodbye
I sharpen my pencil. I breathe in it my woe
And take a seat at the artist’s table.


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