Digital Doodles

Recently purchased an XP Pen tablet. It has been a long time since I have drawn on the computer. I still prefer pen and ink and watercolor, but sometimes you have to adapt to the times. I need a lot of practice. Painting on a tablet is still weird to me and a little bit off-putting.

Caravaggio

The Taking Of Christ, by Caravaggio. Note the all-too-human despair in Christ’s face.

Dead, at last, in the Tuscany froth,
felled by the poison in the lead paints
which you lathered thickly, as if wroth
with your soul’s war of devils and saints;
ever on the run because your life
was as your paintings—passionate,
full of enemies, murder, and strife,
your soul made as if imps fashioned it
to earn their ladders out from the pits,
using wastrels for works iconic
while given to your violent fits:
your art and life were quite ironic.
With beggars and buggers you portrayed
the apostles and saints, your models
taken from the streets, their seedy trade
that of bathhouses and the brothels.
The shadows seeped darkly from your brush
to frame scant light and embolden the glow,
like whispers in a funeral hush,
your life a stark chiaroscuro.
You captured fear and doubt in the face
of Christ as he confronted his doom,
not as mere blasphemy, but to trace
the Doubt we must face within Death’s tomb.
You dove down into the pits of Hell
to ascend to Heaven from the bounce,
your life was an apostle’s tale:
sin and saint, poisoned paint, ounce for ounce.

The Mud God

When the low plains of Babylon
drowned in the year of the Great Flood,
the waters ebbed on the seventh dawn,
but then came the god of the mud.
He swelled up from the sprawling swamp
to gift mankind with fertile soil—
he was a scheming psychopomp
and gave them crops that would not spoil.
It was he who took the drowned dead
in exchange for the fertile years,
for he was the alluvial bed
that fed from sacrifice and tears.
From the corpses sprang up new crops:
grains and sweet fruits, row upon row,
and wheat and barley and the beer hops
with which they washed away sorrow.
Drunk and full, they gave sincere thanks
to the god that drowned their dear kin,
gathering and singing on the banks
where the mounds of mud bloomed again.
So Sumer flooded once a year
and the god rose to bless the plains;
a god of death, life, silt, and fear—
praised and abhorred, like heavy rains.

“God-Given” Gifts

He visits museums and art galleries

to see the master works of sculptors and painters

(because they have a God-Given gift, too).

He goes to concert halls, opera houses, jazz clubs,

to hear deft musicians play songs

(because they have a God-Given gift, too).

He attends theaters and goes to the cinemas

to watch brilliant actors become other people

(because they have a God-Given gift, too).

He watches comedy shows and standup routines

to laugh at the witty jokes comedians tell

(because they have a God-Given gift, too).

He looks after the runaways, the prostitutes,

the transvestites and the vulnerable,

enticing them into his car, talking to them like

an old friend, kindly neighbor,

philanthropist in times of need,

taking them

somewhere remote, quiet, and alone,

and he bludgeons them, stabs them,

strangles them, rapes them, kills them,

chops up their bodies, takes

souvenirs

for his own home gallery,

disposes of the remains

and then he calls their relatives on the phone,

mocks them,

tortures them with his firsthand accounts,

relives his depravity through their fresh tears,

and he

leaves complacent clues at the scenes of his crimes

to taunt the cops,

watching the News media

to rejoice in his grand debut,

becoming famous as the anchors

talk him up to

Godzilla proportions of destruction,

and then, satisfied, he

lays low for a year,

waiting,

watching,

returning when the ruckus has subsided,

cultivating his celebrity once again

with a second season of murders,

elated as his alter-ego alias

passes along the lips of those who

pray against his trespasses,

and eventually he

betrays himself,

outs himself so he can be celebrated with

loathing, with infamy,

with international intrigue

through books, movies, cult status,

fan mail, declarations of love,

becoming a cultural phenomenon

as famous as Raphael or Elvis,

and all because

he has a God-Given gift, too.