I see the ad in the classified section, and take the bus to the address.
A man opens the door, lets me in, and sets a chair for me
in the middle of the room. He stands before it,
clearing his throat; a moment later, he begins.
He launches into long, rambling monologues about
man-made global warming, polar bears, the souls of trees…
A myriad of topics, but the delivery stays unchanged,
each recited line a revelation, trailing off in forced solemnity.
He goes on like this till sunset; then moonrise--
he talks of social justice, demands arboreal rights,
he compares keeping pets to slavery, the holocaust to eating meat.
When the sun comes up, his voice is hoarse, he staggers on his feet--
“That’s it,” he says. “That’s all I got.”
I ask him if he wants breakfast, and we hit a diner down the street.
He asks me what I liked most. I tell him the pauses were quite dramatic,
and suggest he string them all together, in an avant-garde pastiche.
“It’s artsy,” he says, liking the idea. “You an art lover?” he asks.
“Aren’t we all?” I ask back.
“You might be surprised,” he says. “Who’s your favourite artist?”
I say, “Magritte.”
He wrinkles up his face at this, “Don’t know him,” he says,
“what kinda stuff’s he do?”
I look around the table, and arrange a composition:
a pancake on a plate, a napkin, a knife and fork, an empty glass--
I place a coffee carafe where a bottle of wine should be,
dig a small hole in the centre of my pancake,
and pluck my eyeball from its socket and pop it in the hole.
He leans across the table, looking at the scene.
The eyeball in the pancake turns toward him, considering his reaction.
I lean forward, tipping up the plate to give him a better view.
He frowns at the plate, then at me--
“I hate that surrealist shit.”
Ross Lesko is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker. He is also the gallery director of Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Ekphrastic Review
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