He used to be an artist,
wanted to make gargoyles -
fashion them in modern ways.
Follow a plastic arts take
on the stone carver’s tradition.
He sought new monsters of narrative
like the snarling beasts of his time;
Ditko grins, sci-fi and circus freaks,
with Picasso’s garish push and pull.
He wanted positive repulsion
He reasoned we should all update
our ancients and their fears,
into a new, more relevant folksonomy.
His tutors questioned the concept,
didn’t get this new idea of his,
wanted to know why he was
being so post-modern.
He carried on.
Chalk walls became Photostats,
papers became scribbled and screwed,
iconography became stolen.
He built a temple to the strange
watched his reputation as an odd one grow.
Did not deny the darkness of his intent,
posessed, but ready.
His barbarians were simply made;
Two pinched-clay spitjoined bowls,
with brows and crooked nose bones,
puffy cheeks, lips and pointed chins
and ears, and crinkled skin.
Oh, and eyes like nemesis owls,
(just an afterthought).
You are no doubt aware.
“Clay is a fine-grained aggregate
of hydrous silicate particles”.
Difficult to train for most.
But this day, him and clay talked.
A conversation about creation and death,
about tenderness and fire,
about matching energies.
Him and clay reached an understanding.
He, had spoken of humanity’s climb
from the void, and the clay told how
to return to the underworld.
With stroke and roll and squeeze then,
the rebel earth accepted him
and something new, something
never real, never before.
What pleasure that day,
his strange day of ogres.
Who was the demon? Himself?
Or every dastard
now under his command?
Spitefully lain on an old wooden tray,
calling shock unto their saggy eyes
screeching woes to the worried.
So quickly he painted them -
coloured slips the tone and hue
like comic book inkings.
Colours shouldn’t show
But he saw - he saw! he knew!
And he was ecstatic.
Oh how marvelous this had been -
just, perfect - like dreams made real
and grinning back at him.
It seemed, his mastery was complete,
but … something still read wrong.
The threads of this success,
torn by these ugly children of his,
but not monstrous anymore.
He liked them and it showed.
Too clever, too nice,
So he made a decision.
“Kill your babies” a writer said.
Well his, were fifteen dead puppies
raining down and squishing onto tarmac
That’s how they looked
when he threw them in the air -
and he watched them collapse
like giant lumps of splattering puke.
And he heard them too
wailing, wheezing - whistling out
through splits and fearful holes.
Gnarled and twisted, wrecked,
But then he saw the beautiful. Yes!
Not his beauty, but a bludgeoned beauty,
grotesque beauty - rare and barely recognisable beauty.
Scary beauty, breath stealing beauty.
Gargoyle beauty, incredible -
He could have been an artist.