An admirer stood in a trance
at the foot of his most favorite
Nora Talbot painting. It was a
self portrait she did when she was still young,
ten years before her head would explode from
all of the cocaine, heartbreak, and aneurysms.
He let his eyes soak in every inch
of her cloud white skin and screen
black hair like it was oxygen
into his lungs. His pupils traced
over every tentacle that extended from
the jelly fish that wrapped itself
around her from the space between
her breasts. It was a stow away
that appeared to drain the light
from her essence, and was the
catalyst for all of the terror
that masked her face.
A critic approached and stood in
her shadow between them. Looking
closely at every curve, color and choice.
After a while he stepped back and stood
shoulder to shoulder with her disciple.
He perceived him as a simpleton and took
it upon himself to provide education
on what made art worthy or
insufficient. This involved long explanations
about technique and form that slowly morphed
into a rant about the mistakes of the surrealists.
He concluded his lecture by sharing
his thoughts on the material before
them, announcing smugly that many
would not agree with him. He condemned
Nora Talbot and all who were like
her because she was lazy, sloppy,
and unrefined. He suggested that
if she had spent more time on her craft
instead of dancing on rooftops with
dust in her brain, she might have
had a chance at something
Her follower heard this and couldn’t
abide, so he hurled his knuckles directly
toward where the words came from,
making the critic’s front teeth perpendicular
to his gums. Spitting red, the critic
returned the favor and the walls
of the gallery vanished as the
two perpetrated ever escalating acts of violence
towards each other like the animals the art tried, so hard,
to prove that they weren’t.
No one was there to stop them
so they brutalized each other until
they were both unconscious and inches
away from death. Their clothes were soaked
in the dampness of their own blood
which from the impacts had also splattered
onto the painting. Crimson streaks of both
the admirer and the critic now twisted
among the tentacles, and her sacred
flesh, sending ripples through the universe
to the artist in her sleep telling her
she could let things dim a bit now.
Her work was finally finished.