Ménage à toile (ménages étoiles)

Figure 1. «Les Perdants magnifiques» [“Beautiful Losers”]
                    par Jonah de BRANTON (Canadien, 1987–), 2008,
                                        huile sur toile, 69.6 × 96.9 cm (27 ⅜ × 38 ⅛ in),
                                                            Peinture canadienne, acheté en 2011, numéro d’inventaire 2011.102,
                                                                                Musée des arts naïfs et populaires, Montréal

          To roll up the sky like a piece of skin,
               falling from some forgotten god’s weak fist
               giving us each the finger, how we pass
               over instead of from one existence
               to another, shedding relationships
               and personæ as if our souls were just

               onions rooted not in some truth, but just
               disgusting and withered relationships
               biting us like bitter fruit, existence
               disguising their stench with kisses our skin
               mistakes for love, this touch a torch we pass
               until we burn to ash hearts filling fists.

          Love not given but lived, spent before fists
               can open and let in what we let pass
               us, what curse poets call a gift, wet skin
               good as gasoline when hidden Selves just
               combust, ignited to full existence,
               not pulled but poured into relationships

               by what light sparks them, fuel relationships
               burn to hazardous blaze, from existence
               taking parts of us we would rather just
               paint over with excuses than face, fist
               on hideous truth gently laid, bruised skin
               easier to explain than flames that pass.

Figure 2. «Narcisse amoureux» [“Narcissus in Love”]
                    par Béjant HONORAND (Français, 1989–), 2009,
                                        huile sur toile, 193.8 × 139.2 cm (76 ¼ × 54 ¾ in),
                                                            Collection d’art, don anonyme en 2012, numéro d’inventaire 3101,
                                                                                Institut de psychiatrie légale et criminologie clinique, Paris

          Scattered like blossoms on a mountain pass
               after storms ravage them, lovers shed skin
               faster than they change bedsheets, holding fists
               instead of hands, things like relationships
               unnatural to wild flowers who just
               glide over life’s precipice existence,

               as if jumping into this existence
               makes of one night’s injustice something just,
               taking a stand against relationships,
               because giving too much to one makes pass
               over us a heart’s breath, opening fists,
               blowing out its dust covering our skin,

               erasing sin from wounds relationships
               with cigarette precision burned in, pass
               upon pass releasing souls from dead skin.

          So it was when Alexandre from reason’s
               convenient sleep awoke, a thorn-choked rose
               pulled by its root to surface, seeking out
               his throbbing head’s blush-red purpose, coming
               up with a touch that he felt needed some
               immediate attention, urging him

               to go searching for one to go with him,
               a girl to go with his gun, enough, some
               have said, for a film, attractions coming
               in white flashes of light flooding reasons
               why Nathalie might be right to take out,
               fire for his pulse, a crush under the rose.

Figure 3. «Amants dispersés: Ou, amants dispersés comme des fleurs cassées dans la tempête»
                    [“Scattered Lovers: Or, Lovers Scattered like Blossoms Broken in the Storm”]
                                        par Bjørn HAADENNOT (Norvégien, 1965–2010), 2010,
                                                            huile sur toile, 278.4 × 387.6 cm (109 ⅝ × 152 ⅝ in),
                                                                                Peintures et dessins, legs de l’artiste en 2013, numéro d’inventaire 13-206,
                                                                                                    Musée des blessures de la beauté, Bruxelles

          Wanderlust struck down both when there arose
               in their closed hearts thunderclaps calling out
               of their tombs that coupling’s hundred reasons
               not to go forth, insisting she meet him
               and he show up in her hometown, coming
               like a magician under stars with some

               gifts to bestow, bending his knees and some
               scripture to prophesy seconds coming
               together as if by chance, choosing him
               just in time to renew to fervid throes
               romance both extinguished with cold reasons
               pervert pilgrims pounding pavement threw out.

          Toward it rushing, dusk dusting with doubt
               dawn’s flickering bulb of hope those reasons
               blew out, raising from tar armies that rose
               and felled with molasses-thick madness some
               part of her that should have known, that in him
               dwelled a demon called Donatien, coming

               with oyster-slick swiftness, spilled oil coming
               with filthy fingers, hatred filling him,
               diddling innocence from sacred chrism, some
               third face none of the Fates had measured out
               nor heavens anticipated, this rose
               of hers guilt and pleasure wilted, reasons

               abounding for her destruction, reasons
               only now coming to light, casting out
               of his shadow hurt that is art to some.