The Perfect Circle

charcoal circles

The Perfect Circle

It was evening and overcast when she caught the cab. It remained evening and overcast as she climbed the stone steps to the semi-impressive gallery. She was on time, that is late, and was ill-received by several of the milling mob. She took in, quick, the photography on the walls.

“Since when is photography art?” She wondered aloud at the garish digital snapshots framed large and shiny. And, “Isn’t it odd how selling it somehow makes it worthless?” She was in an amused state of ornery grace when a hand clapped, heavy like a fish, onto her shoulder. “Glad you could make it, old friend.” She faced her old friend. Patterns sang in recognition, if not joy, as they exchanged gazes rather than embraces and then closed in on a nearby conversation.

Garbling swallowed minutes until she caught it, clear — “It’s impossible for a human being to draw the perfect circle…” It struck and stuck to her. The perfect circle. She’d been absently listening, hovering somewhere just above the lamplight; rapt with the shadows. Perhaps visually circling the impression of the shade on the wall. She’d been busying her hands, perhaps intently circling her thumb around the bottom of her plastic glass of sparkling wine. Certainly, the circles had been there all along. Hadn’t it always been this way?

Of course. Bubbles rose in effortless perfection from her very fingertips. They’re everywhere; in faces, rings, embraces, fruit. Circles. Spins. Planets and the wheels, buttons and pins. She tips, dizzy, and once again; the hand – heavy like a dead fish. “Are you OK?” She nods with her whole body, “Yes”. But, no. Science thinks it has beaten art.

But, yes. She will draw the perfect circle. At last, the ultimate futile quest. When there’s no chance of success, the process supersedes the product. A loophole. A perfectly circular loophole. An enigma. The question answers itself, but poses anyway.

Somehow the weak half-sentence had, at once, lassoed her full and eternal attention. “..impossible to draw a perfect circle.” The phrase levitated — the supreme artistic existential statement. The meaning of art! Circles. Cycles. The tides. The boulders and eyes. Circles. Suddenly and dramatically this apotheosis caused in her a visible physical shift. She elevated, from crumpled to beaming. Her cheeks even appled and her teeth made a rare and crooked appearance as her mouth stretched into a wide smile.

And yet, no one took notice. She pressed to see her revelation reflected around her; in her old friend, in these nameless others. But if her ecstatic panic registered with them, it did not show. She got nothing from the stuffed skin-sacks before her. Mouths flapped, dumbly. She faced each one in turn and they nodded and smiled and said nothing, or something. But with no inkling of acknowledgement. And the envelope of evening sealed to night.


addicts art


We’re addicts, we’re not happy unless we’re ecstatic.
Splinters for the kaleidoscope,
When we’re sad we’re pathetic.

We dilate fantastic.
If it’s a graze, it’s a grope.
We’re addicts, we’re not happy unless we’re ecstatic.

A derelict automatic —
Who can wake or think of soap?
When we’re sad, we’re pathetic.

We’re front page, magnetic,
When life’s a bottomless pile of dope.
But we’re addicts, we’re not happy unless we’re ecstatic.

The mirror turns septic
The bottom-most pinch of hope.
And when we’re sad, we’re pathetic.

Life as an elastic
Keeps most of us from the rope.
We’re addicts, we’re not happy unless we’re ecstatic.
When we’re sad, we’re pathetic.

You Wouldn’t Understand Our Fun

It’s often solemn
here, at the bottom.
Moldy brick, insects,
fire escapes, door slams
mark time,
make sense.
It’s godless and damp,
often rotten
here, at the bottom.
And eyeballs ache
and backs and mornings.
But there are glimpses;
ripe instances of
My image in the lit pane,
a strain of real music.

The Joke

I eat to drink and breathe to smoke.
I disregard the papers and the stairs.
Being a grown up is a joke.

I let morning soak.
For breakfast, I’ve my nightmares.
I eat to drink and breathe to smoke.

What’s a watch, but a wrist to choke?
Plus, nowhere’s worth the transportation fares.
Being a grown up is a joke.

I keep lovely things to stroke;
But no paste, no sheet, no grocery shares.
I eat to drink and breathe to smoke.

No “wait,” no “hurry,” no guilty poke
When I’m lackadaisical with my affairs.
Being a grown up is a joke.

I’ve not stopped shaking since last we spoke…
As if misery only came in pairs.
I eat to drink and breathe to smoke.
Being a grown up is a joke.