by John-Patrick Ayson
k stares at the calendar – restively - sees the dates june 16, 17, & 18 crossed out, almost does the same to the 19th – but instead she refrains, & watches the watch tick from 8:35 to 8:36...
as her fingernail shavings scatter on her desk, as the floorboards creaked of her foot taps, as nihilist butterflies invade her stomach...
"is my gut a buffet of lilacs & sunflowers?!" she blurts out to her best friend, subpar
subpar, a puppet, a gift when she turned a decade old, sits motionless on her bed
if subpar could talk, it would have said: " my torso is made of yarn & rubber,
so i can’t comment on your crisis "
so while gazing at the empty canvas, with neither a hint of a scribble nor a touch from a paint brush stroke, she considers turning in nothing for the final in her “exo-temporary post impressionist” seminar
but she was too terrified - terrified of the instructor & his probable reaction; a wrinkled forehead, grayed eyebrows, & a bent, hockey player’s nose, squeezing into a 3x3 inch space on the center of his seasoned, alcoholic’s grimace - terrified of the questions he asked the first day of class
who is the artist?
what is art?
as ruminative as she was, she first found the questions useless - yet she thought about them, deeply
"the artist is a single parent, with multiple personalities & tourette syndrome - & art is its children, who will be orphaned to several foster homes"
"the artist is a boxer - & art are its boxing gloves, fighting in a single elimination tournament, to win the right to punch holes on the undisputed champion, nicknamed “ life - the big lie"
"art is a machine that feeds on other machines - which will inevitably feed on the artist - who, after being devoured, will cause gas, upset stomach, diarrhea"
but because she was a painter, pretending to be a wacky writer who attempts to summarize who the artist is & what art meant was - to her - fucking pretentious
nevertheless, this was her final answer:
"i am the artist. & my art is my art. if
you can’t understand it, then i can’t explain it"
but this quick flashback did not quell the sheer pressure to better & outdo herself for her final project, her swan song – she bites whatever is left of her fingernails, taps her foot on the floorboards, not caring if they cave, as three factions of nihilist butterflies battle for dictatorship of her midsection
in desperation, she grabs subpar, ogles deep into its eyes, whispers:
"if you ARE my best friend, tell me
what to do RIGHT NOW"
she slips her left hand inside
then, in a phony foreign accent, insidious tone, a mimicry of david bowie’s character in “ Labyrinth “ subpar says:
"you see that wall where your window is? paint that wall with the brightest white - make sure you use a roller - then take that .44 magnum in your dad’s armoire - & with your back facing the wall - put the gun in your mouth, slowly pull the trigger, & before you ever blink again – BANG - final project… done"
About the Author:
john patrick ayson sleeps to & wakes with, eats & excretes, destroys &/or makes various texts, visuals, & audios... lives near a rusty, latticed fence in san diego, north of mexico… is the author of THE NONPAREIL(S), a trove of hybrid texts & literary constructs on human success, idleness, & failure… holds a MFA in innovative writing… has texts & visuals in past, recent & upcoming issues of ditch, LITnIMAGE, streetcake magazine, among others, & was a contributor to & co-edited Fiction International…