Tonight, I think I will paint you. Not your portrait. . .you will be my
This is not a matter of adornment. You are a marble statue,
immaculate, pristine and perfect, and no application of make-up will
change or improve that one bit. Not the hasty rouge of a painted
harlot. . .this is something else.
This is. . .a defacement, a defilement, a brazen iconoclasm. The
marble goddess, aloof and untouchable, will be. . .touched. . .
Your back, I paint a deep blue, a cloudless sky, the pigment being
heaped on in sticky masses and smeared smooth with a brush. Then,
starting at the top of your spine, three blazing trails of bright
yellow, shafts of lightning splitting the heavens. You shudder, and I
know that the brush travelling down your back sends shivers of real
electricity spilling down your backbone.
Your buttocks I treat separately. . .the right one gets a vivid
reddish-purple the color of an exactly ripe plum. . .the left streaks
of red and white, like a pillow of peppermint candy.
On your right leg I am deliberately sloppy: drips and drops of whatever color I can think of mixing in haphazard ways, a muddy brown with flecks of orange and green and blue.
On the left leg, I am deliberate and disciplined: black and white
stripes, sharply contrasted and exactly straight, as if drawn by a
ruler, running from the top of your thigh down to your ankle.
Turning you around, I work on your front. The right breast gets a
floral design, the nipple being the center of a rose, and the petals
spreading out, the green stem reaching down, tickling your belly,
exploding in a bramble of green and yellow.
It can hardly be said that I paint the left breast. I throw away the
brush, and with the pigment that stains my hand, I massage and
squeeze, leaving grubby fingerprints all over, like a signature,
boasting of my handiwork.
Kneeling now, in front of you, in the posture of worship, but without
the intention, I turn my gaze to the sweet center of you. With a very
thin brush, coming to a point, and with jet black ink, I print an
intricate delicate pattern, geometric, complicated, engrossing, all
over the delicate lips and the soft surrounding skin. You don't
bother to conceal, as if you could, the thrilling sensation the brush
inflicts upon you. . .but I insist you stand still.
Then your face. I meet your gaze for just a second, and smile at the
riot of emotion expressed by your eyes. Your lips get painted a
bright, bright fucshia, like a neon sign. . .a color to make the
cheapest streetwalker blush. Your eyes receive a bright peacock blue
on the lids, and following the theme, green and blue feathers with
yellow spots across your forehead.
Finally I reach your hair. It's tied up in a ridiculously prim bun,
which I contemptuously undo, letting it hang loose. With whatever
fistfulls of color remain, I run bright streaks through it, standing
it up, stiffening as it dries.
You are complete, and I stand you between two mirrors, that you might
admire my work.
Turn around, look at yourself from every angle, over your shoulder
from behind. . .you are a work of art. An explosion of color. A mad,
tangled rainbow, refracted and scintillating.
You used to be merely perfect.
But now. . .
But now. . .
by the philosopher
5 February 2007