I wrote this kind-of poem last year after I found a strand of hair in my shower that looked exactly like Salvador Dali. I have revised this poem countless times since and I don’t think it will ever feel fully finished but as a writer, it forced me out of my comfort zone which is never a bad thing! Here it is:
Strands of Salvador
Salvador Dali lived and died in my shower and somehow that seems significant.
Plastered against the freshly-steamed shower wall,
His form was harsh,
A chin that would be strenuous to climb.
A strand of straggling hair,
Non-breathing found life in an accidental portrait of Salvador Dali.
But weeks later,
Downward-sliding Salvador befell the drain’s temptations.
I stopped conditioning my hair in protest because he was art.
He was a something,
A someone that captured my breath and fed it color and left me hungry for more.
Left me starving for more.
But art became even less subtle.
Art left the drain and hammered against a cardinal perched outside.
Pleaded, Look at me!
Look at me before you look at your email and read those churning,
We are unable to offer you a position at this time.
Art was reactive and clunky.
So deeply that the most alive parts were hammered and blanched.
Art became the seething pariah.
Barred from position,
Never knowing why.
Still, he learned to let those blotchy red paint strokes stream from his eyes,
Down a weathered canvas that would be strenuous for anyone else to climb.
And he learned how much more interesting breaths sound when they cave and climb.
He misunderstood and misinterpreted.
He was a wet painting dancing around a much larger wet painting.
He was Walt Whitman sounding his barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.
And he interpreted a barbaric yawp as simply noticing.
Then art found shelter in the underwing of a duck bathing in the pond.
He noticed that duck underwings are over-the-top green.
Suddenly, it seemed more important to care about that,
About that duck bathing in the pond,
Then all the other things that never had to be noticed.
All the other things that just were.
And he started to wonder if just noticing was barbaric.
Art was a digger,
Soon tearing into the atmosphere that flowed a certain way before he got there.
Now, art is a disturbance.
He is grotesque.
He is gorgeous.
He misses his sudsy painter.
So I dig and chisel until I find him again.
Until I am fed on the welts of paint bubbling around,
Frothing into belief.
I’m the one holding the paint brush.
So when it starts with Salvador Dali living and dying in my shower, it doesn’t end there.
Because there is a fiercely beautiful cardinal outside of my window screaming, notice me!
And there is another foreign shape in my shower whispering, notice me.
And there is something inside that churns and spits and rattles.
A voice that stumbles,
Twangs like a taut strand of Salvador.