Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Would I think of them as lovers
if I didn’t see the title? I am a watcher,
an observer, and a storyteller of sorts.
I look for the story behind the picture,
the way I look at two people and wonder
how they ended up being together.

I look at artwork and relate it to a moment
in my life. I remember at twenty, how the two
of us found each other in the greeting card aisle
of the college bookstore. Two acquaintances
from class who had spoken many times, but this
moment, on that day, changed everything for us.

Would I have seen it differently without
About the Painting on the bottom?
Would I have stopped to take a closer look
at the clothes, to interpret the time period
as the age close to Romeo and Juliet?

Would I notice how he was holding
her hand, the gray tones of their skin,
the use of only six colors, rubbed on.
If I had not read the notes, would I have
seen the “strong silent bond between them”?

Would I have thought it a masterpiece
by one of the world’s greatest artists,
if I had not seen his familiar face in a close up?
Black and white gripping his bald head,
staring like a madman at the camera.
Could I have known it was Picasso without
the About the Artist? Nothing clued me in to
his handiwork, nothing political, no images of
death, geometrically disfigured faces,
distorted bodies made of cubes.

Instead, I may have asked,
Is there news of a baby on the way?
Is she about to tell him goodbye?
Is he looking for forgiveness?
Does it really matter if there’s a story
behind this simple painting?
Just two peaceful young people in love.
Does it matter who painted it
if I find it pleasing to look at?

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