See him striding down the side,
pot belly, paint pot.
The building’s grey, and so’s the sky,
he hums and sighs, oh me, oh my.
Long since he cast out desk sitting,
table tops and filming,
now taking pegases flying on advertising,
under a goldy street light
and an endless race track, looping, losing.
We win the race to this light, and lose it to the next.
And when we are stowed away
in some garage, others still race on.
We don’t mind, we idly watch our race losses,
it’s the only the missed turns that get your goat.
But goats are not uncommon on the grassy patches in between the buzzing highways.
People who are late for losing, lately coming,
late for work, third time this week.
We still don’t know when to indicate. Incinerate or irritate,
no irrigation is required, third time this week.
Dwarfed by madly spinning tyres,
the kind that smoothly overtake.
And just a small cut into the landscape,
another road be blowed.
Takes five years to get that kind of did undid.
And his eyes are still drawn to soft edges,
vagrant grasses, sickly shrubs,
trees that cannot seem to stop,
often a magnolia, sometimes misty rain.
 While he sheaves his sickle, sower,
sorry, paint pot or else sander,
the skin beneath his nails is the only part of himnot weather blown and roughened.
The rain falls harder now, scattered shrubs seem thicker,
the road is winding long, so long.
He’s not sure if this should be goodbye,
for if he ends up on the other side of nowhere,
he knows he won’t be back.
That’s why every time he starts he turns back.
Safety in the city, houses stacking, needing painting,
and work is hard to get when the spaces in between em goes for days.
He could never be a farmer, post deliverer, cattle rustler,
nor cowboy, farm hand, window cleaner.
But he never thought he’d be a painter either,
at least, he thought he’d be a painter,
but these days all he’s doing is swatching greys and bones
on depthless walls,
encouraging the buyers to extend and to buy local.
He gets enough walls drab and smoothly coloured to get by.
And when he drives home, in the cherry jam flowing on the road,
he brushes his tired hand across his eyes,
smarting and dreaming of a roughened canvas
full of red dust and silver moons,
water stones are smooth, red ground is forever.
He tells the road again,
not tonight.
And he swears again,
this cannot be the only tune to sing.

– zu

 

Linked to dVerse Open Link Night.

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25 thoughts on “The Painter – 25/8/17

  1. Love the character and this part stood out for me:

    he brushes his tired hand across his eyes,
    smarting and dreaming of a roughened canvas
    full of red dust and silver moons,
    water stones are smooth, red ground is forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an engaging poem. These lines caught my attention:
    …”the road is winding long, so long.
    He’s not sure if this should be goodbye,
    for if he ends up on the other side of nowhere,
    he knows he won’t be back.” I also like the last several lines that wrap it up and I feel a wistfulness about this man and the road that lies ahead of him and what choices he has.
    Gayle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that is a huge compliment, thank you! It’s so lovely that you’ve compared it to a song 😊 When I write pieces like this I do tend to pay more attention to the rhythm and sound of the words and when I come back to it I find the story. So glad you liked it. Thanks very much for taking the time to read!

      Liked by 1 person

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