By John L. Malone
What was that guy thinking? Did I agree to this? I must have. What was I thinking? I should never have posed nude, for starters. That wasn’t necessary. And sitting in public view for all to see. You know what I look like? A guy sitting on a toilet seat, hunched over, muscled legs taut, trying to take a dump instead of having a good think. At least he could have put a cubicle around me. Even a bronze statue deserves some dignity.
John Malone is on a roll. His chapbook of poems has just come out.
During a high school trip to France, I meet Her for the first time in Her climate-controlled chamber. Afterwards, a boy packing some hashish leads me to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, where we smoke, then he lies on top of me while I gaze up at the shivering canopy, thinking about how disappointing seeing the painting had been.
Several millennia later, as a phantom wandering the ashes, an urgency to encounter Her again overcomes me.
I ghost through every underground vault on Earth, searching.
Find Her at last, mouth now drawn into a corpse’s rictus.
Time has robbed Her of ambiguity.
Writer Tim Boiteau writes and lives near Detroit with his wife and son.
By Sophie Flynn
I liked it when you said I had an ‘artistic temperament’ because it covered it all: tears in the carpark, not eating for days, refusal to choose paint for the walls because I just couldn’t look at the colors anymore; and instead made those days when I couldn’t cope, when I pictured cutting out my tongue and ripping off my skin, seem part of something greater to create something worthwhile, rather than days indulging myself. My artistic temperament was such a lovely phrase for what was really: unpleasant, unnerving, unbearable or, as you finally put it as you left, unlovable.