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They shared

They shared, she and he, an
explosive emotion one day—
as if a pathos and universal grief
had permeated their bones and those
throughout all the sinews of Paris
He lived his last years there alone
in a grave, if vague, solitary

grandiosity and near blind, he could
barely see the brush strokes made
when he tried then to paint; here
we don’t know what to see—his
hostility to the bland was unsurpassed,
“Pointlessness of pointlessness
everything is pointless”

“We’re still here, god damn it
Why do the bad ones always win?
There’s always their damned activity
Without my gifts what would I be?”
Self-centered and afraid of
confrontation, his visions cascade
into finely delineated specks

Her identity was an accident
of her history, an accident of her
locality, but he didn’t like her
sculpture that day “There’s too much
truth in it, why can’t you capture
our myth in your tones like a
vicious jaguar freed from its cage?”

Greet each challenge with urbanity,
kindness and, if possible, Olympic calm
and then, only then, might we look to you
There’s no one here to look up to
That one, he had great skill and
his work ethic was ferocious and yet
his career was maddening

He inspired no loyalty and finally
blundered his way into nothing
“They’re vulgar and uninformed
Their questions are always trivial
It’s grotesque,” she said, “to pant
after those who don’t want you”
No one would follow them

The thought of her own extinction
caused her great anguish and terror
She became a chronic ranter who
was, thought she, surrounded by idiots
She reveled in a constant state of
indignation, a sort of mystic hatred,
beneath a mask of contempt   

Pleasures arrive, they’re spent
Couples are invariably dull
Separate the two and they’re much
less bland, less full of splotchy
trivial codes, diagonal slants,
their duly predictable processions
The physical world is indeterminate

corrupted and corruptible
“Why no angels?” they asked him
“Show me an angel and I’ll paint
one” he replied and she said
“We don’t just admire the view here—
Understand, please, our swagger isn’t
bragging, we’re just holding on”

-March 10, 2019-