Mr. Lipson by Patricia Carragon

Mr. Lipson,
you were a stone thrower,
paint tosser,
slasher,
arsonist.
You weren’t Matisse,
Van Gogh,
Rembrandt,
Da Vinci,
or any great artist.
You were a cantankerous “old fart,”
a painter of “happy trees”
against mediocre landscapes.

You defaced two pieces of my artwork
in Aunt Celia’s and Uncle Henry’s
Stuyvesant Town living room,
as my parents sat
without intervening.

The pen-and-ink boat
capsized under faultfinding—
my lack of perspective,
my lack of experience.
Even the lighthouse couldn’t be saved.

Your words deliberately smashed
the DayGlo pink bottle,
rotting the cheery flowers and fruit,
in and around the ceramic bowl—
too two-dimensional and amateurish.
Even the bowl cracked under pressure.

Not one word of encouragement
for an artist struggling
with pimples and self-worth—
an artist simultaneously
disappearing from her craft.

The pictures were intended for Aunt Celia—
she left space for them
to hang on the family art wall.
But instead,
they went into her closet.

A few years later,
Aunt Celia handed them back to me—
She said that they wouldn’t fit in
with her collection,
but I saw that she made room for others.

I didn’t argue—
instead,
I became a stone thrower,
paint tosser,
slasher,
arsonist.
I could never be Matisse,
Van Gogh,
Rembrandt,
Da Vinci,
or any great artist.
Nor could I become
a cantankerous “old bag,”
a painter of “happy trees”
against mediocre landscapes.
Remnants of the pen-and-ink boat and lighthouse,
and the DayGlo still life
were unceremoniously,
donated to the museum of garbage.

Years later,
I became a writer and poet.
But I’m not Dickenson,
Kerouac,
Bashō,
Woolf,
or any great writer or poet.
Just someone who writes
without paint or ink,
wondering . . . what would have happened
if Mr. Lipson read my work?
_____________________________________
Patricia Carragon‘s publication credits include Allbook Books, BigCityLit, Bear Creek Haiku, Boog City, CLWN WR, Clockwise Cat, Danse Macabre, Home Planet News, Inertia, Lips, Levure littéraire, Long Island Quarterly, Mad Hatters’ Review, The Toronto Quarterly, Word Salad, and others. Her most recent book is Urban Haiku and More (Fierce Grace Press, 2010). Her Cupcake Chronicles is forthcoming from Poets Wear Prada, Winter 2015. She hosts the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets (now in its tenth year) and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology.

For more information, please check out her websites: http://brownstonepoets.blogspot.com.

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