Painting Waves – Kieran Kelly

She tells me
With gleaming fingernails
Pristine cuffs and dull eyes
That she doesn’t paint anymore
That the ocean got too rough
That she can’t paint anymore

The space
Abandoned bolted fast
With key unturned since the leaves fell
Brushes lay splayed like shattered hands
Their tips turned to stark black bullet points
As vascular roadmap cracks announce themselves
Across continents of colour
On abandoned palettes
Retractable knife blades become leprous
With rust

She doesn’t paint anymore
Because the ocean got too rough
Now is the time of sailors
The epoch of artists is dead
And art is useless
Sailors survive
Artists wither

In the room
Half an eyeless face
Edges blurring to nothingness
Furtively stares at no one
Silently petitioning for completion
A blank canvas stands opposite
So intimidating in its hessian infinity
That she cannot look
It has become her portrait in the attic
To gaze on its emptiness would destroy her
She has had enough of emptiness

No one escapes their time before the mast
We must all swap pens, brushes, paper and canvas
For cut hands
Broken teeth
Searing salt spray
And the lash of the cat
Until the endless and relentless
Recedes to impermanence
And breaks upon a distant shore
And you are free

She tells me she doesn’t paint anymore
No time for brush or pen
Lost too much to start again
Feels like she’s lost too much in a pointless war

War. That’s it.
A war you’ll win
With an army of one
Out of Guernica
Came Guernica
And one day soon
You will paint the waves
Which almost swallowed you

About aloudqmu

Aloud is a monthly poetry and spoken word open mic night, and literary magazine. We are based in Glasgow University's Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Here we wish to publish performance videos from our open mic nights, event updates, and the writing featured in our monthly Aloud Magazine, and some of the writing that didn't quite make the final cut.
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