You are not the Painter but the Brush [poem]

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As I sat me down within the shallow foaming sea
and splashed and flapped my upper body parts
(observing how the weave of blue and silver filigree
reminded me of women’s clothing in renaissance art)
a voice came from beneath the waves with naked joy:

«You think you are a painter but you’re not.
That’s only how it seems to you with blinkers on
from deep within your self-made jewelry box»

I peered into the briny drink (a nearby buoy then rang).
The voice continued unabated [steadfast aural hologram]:

«You are, in fact, the paintbrush used by callitwhatyouwill
[in which you, too, partake though you have long forgot;
but that’s another tale from well beyond this fallen world
of rot and hopes and broken dreams and even ersatz hell]
to bring a touch of colour to this wouldbegreysome globe.
It all remains in monochromely flow until you let things go
to which you’ve clung for dear life since your squalid birth
in blood & shit & pain & screams (how fitting all that seems).
You knew no better then and still you do not do so now.
You’ve fooly thought you were your boss autonomously
doing stuff with everyone around you reinforcing what
[and who] you’re not (for they too hadn’t one small clue)
and never were nor ever will be, has been now nor was
[imagining that fictive role which runs inside your head
from birth until your dead has garnered authenticity!].
But all your schemes rigidified the gouache in your soul.
For callitwhatyouwill cannot be squeezed or flow through
conduit tubes which are not offered freely for its open use.
It waits until you consciously have yielded, made a truce,
returned the keys which you, in hubris, have usurped
and subsequently, on your knees, will utter words which
bring the secret angels glee: “Paint with me as you please”.
There also are extraordinary times that callitwhatyouwill —
for special reasons based on purpose and/or history —
will dramatically intervene and domineer the earthly scene
should someone prove incapable of being a worthy node,
which happens much more than you might at first suppose.
To summarise, please take these words into your heart:
My friend, you’ve never been the painter but the brush
which callitwhatyouwill employs until there’s been enough
of what you’re here to paint, or when the callitwhatyouwill
has had its fill of you resisting your position as the brush —
which, in common parlance, is what you in all your ignorance
and foolishness call death (with all unnecessary grief and
mourning in your quaintly darkly-suited, ego-clingly fuss).»

And so the tidal wordly wave then ceased its smite.
Sledgehammerly, I knew the huge pelagic voice was right;
and so, that night, with all the August moons in full farewell
and Perseid shower’s canvas making skyful bagatelle,
while walking nudely by the ocean’s concave siren swell,
I bid myself goodbye and clambered in the diving bell
which washed itself ashore by me and disappeared into
the deep, where no more further would be heard of me
(or from me) but a heap of dusty rust and then whatever
else is truly me goes through some stages of what I can
only call a soulish sleep so I’ll forget who I have been
and where I was and blend back into callitwhatyouwill
until the next time that the cosmic speck entitled “me”
goes forth adventureful to seek some further earthly thrill
and paint some words or put some colour in a poemsong
which few will hear or see but that’s okay with me, for
I am just a little brush who’s happy to be used and free.


© Alan Morrison, 2015

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