The first day I saw you,
a lump lingered in my throat, nausea
aplenty with memories of previous art teachers,
who pronounced my lines unpleasantly straight,
who called my trees too intricate,
who threw pencils across the table in anger at
my grand art-deficiency, my sketchiness,
but it was you who pulled me from the swaddle
of insecurities, almost as if to say:
there is adequacy in inadequacy.
You told us loud and clear, we’re not in Disneyland,
when you saw a painting of chicks hatching from
their shells, their heads bobbing profusely.
In low-lit rooms, we created wild paint strokes,
you narrated Kahlo’s story and painted pictures
of your time in Paris, Noir Desir’s Le Vent Nous Portera
played on your phone in a blurred haze,
Bertrand Cantat’s homicide fresh in our talk.
You said I would thrive at an art school,
that I had all the potential of a fine artist,
that NCA would see my impressionist strokes,
and I grew to love NCA when you guided us
through its dark and cold corridors, the intense scent
of oil paint filling our lungs like cigarette smoke,
but then the school year ended and we turned to stone,
pursuing economics and mathematics,
devouring government and politics.
You saw me years later and asked me
why I was sad, I wanted to pour my sorrow
in a cup for you, wear my stony heart upon my sleeve
and show what lack of art did to me, but I could only
stare blankly like a painting in Picasso’s Blue Period,
my head turned down like The Old Guitarist’s.
Now I pick up the broken paintbrush
to touch the canvas softly, remembering gone days
when I had a vision of becoming Vincent.