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Here is a drawing I’ve been working on and off on for several days. It started as a study of chicken bones, and then the wishbones seemed to want to talk to each other and the Universe, so element by element the drawing came to stochastic life. It told me to have implied stories here and there, and I did my best to oblige. The last thing it told me was to sign it and stop, and think of it kindly as a possible future painting. It feels unfinished-yet-not, as if “in medias res” is essential to its being. If I do make a painting of it the strategy will be alla prima in bluish violet–maybe.

This post is titled “faux tableaux” because the implied stories are not part of a play nor historical description; also, with Faux being four letters and Tableaux being eight, the title lends itself to the Acrostic poetic form I have been specializing in for more than a decade. Usually I include the poem on the image, but the image is busy enough as it is, so I’m going hyperdimensional and letting it stand separately below.

faux tableaux

far-flinging tenancy undue
adds more to addled syn&tax – a
unit’s cubic aperçu
x-rays the law and says relax

Now, what does that all mean? Well, “far-flinging” might be referring to the implied Disc Golf game in progress in the image; but Far-Flung colloquially means a deviation from reality. Tenancy is an official melding of being and location. Undue implies both unexpected and unwanted. Put them all together and they feed the next line’s “adds more to addled syn&tax” with the made-up wordmash “syn&tax” having a first syllable connoting both Synthetic and Sin, the last syllable connoting both a surcharge and a burden, and the ampersand gluing them together. Meter and rhyme are preserved by the appended dash and indefinite article; read aloud, the third line would begin with “A.” “A unit’s cubic aperçu” shows both the glory and the shame of my quasi-acrostic construction. “Unit” was chosen because it starts with a U and yet must phonetically start with a consonant; otherwise “A” would have to be “An.” And “aperçu” was chosen to rhyme with Undue (though it doesn’t, quite, English speakers unfamiliar with French will impart the Ooh sound to the last syllable, and not the French U sound, which is “ooh” with a hint of “ee”) and also because I flat-out love the word, with its magic cedilla and its densely-packed meaning of “a comment or brief reference that makes an illuminating or entertaining point” into only six letters. As a composer of acrostic poetry I have leaned on “aperçu” often as a line-ending word. I don’t apologize. I’m grateful to have it to use.

The third line feeds into the fourth. “A unit’s [someone’s] cubic [adding a third dimension] aperçu [spoken perceptive observation] x-rays the law {analyzes codified custom] and says relax [things ARE chaotic but are not as gruesome as they seem].”

A classmate of mine recently disparaged me as a “third-rate poet” who does “weird drawings.” To my knowledge he does not write poetry at all, and by his admission he can’t draw his way out of a wet paper bag. (To his credit, he publicly apologized later, saying he was retaliating for some unkind remarks I made about his selfies.) The truth is I’ll take Third-Rate over Nonexistent, and Weird over Nonexistent as well, any day. No one else on Earth is doing what I am doing, the way I am doing it, and it keeps me sane and out of trouble to boot. Bonus! 🙂