I sat in the park with my pad and my pencil
And I tried to sketch the people going by,
The water crashing, the boats passing,
The green and yellow hill.
My left hand smudging the paper
As it dragged along like a bad leg.
I sat there interminably
And the people on my pad did not look like they were supposed to.
The water was dry,
The hills immovable and dull.
I bought the paints and I set up the canvas
In the room with the best daylight
But the work seemed too much
And my talent too slim,
The choices too many.
I couldn’t even decide on the colors!
I didn’t even try to play the guitar
A short story was impossible,
Never mind a novel!
All that work work work.
Nothing seemed easy until I began these delicate fuzzy sketches –
A few words at a time,
Halting like Morse Code.
Revealing just enough to a reader
For them to know but also not know –
Just emotions brushing up subtly against the heart.
I could argue about the meaning behind what I had written
Without even quite knowing what I meant when I wrote it
And I would always be right.
It was confusing and diabolical art
Written in the secret of a dark room alone.
I had found my confession,
I started to walk backward
and kept walking
until I reached the place I recognized;
remembered from some time ago.
I stood still
while the wind that once whispered
to me to do it
when I wouldn’t do it
now did nothing to me
but tousle my hair
and let loose
a sad but consistent snigger
with the rattlesnakes rattling
on either side of the path,
I started to walk forward
as the shadows of the sun that once trailed me
began to lead the way.
John Tustin has poetry forthcoming in The MacGuffin, Innisfree Poetry Journal, SOFTBLOW, and others. He is also a previous contributor to Sparks of Calliope. Find links to his poetry published online here.