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Art Nouveau at Six

cotton-candy faced child

lips pursed in crayoned industry

carpet-sprawled toy litter

pushed by her legs into an easel shape


not for her stick figure tradition

adhering to shared tables

of nursery classrooms, sidewise glances

not for her crinkle flower-grin faces

and five-line houses, popsicle trees


mouth daubed with finger paint

she presses lips and nose to page

pours a pool of glue into a corner

then upturns it upon the rug

where errant threads and cat hair trails

attach themselves to its wet surface

with bits of dust and grime

joining in with conspiratorial smear


she lays the page on window sill to dry

where spider-like its tentacled web

captures a careless fly;  admonished,

sent to clear up her mess, her irate mother

scrubs to remove stains splattered on her dress


she wriggles through it all eyes fixed

on some distant star, that only she can see,

I think of Van Gogh and of Dali

of Andy Warhol and yes, of Philip Glass

spilt paint swirling through his veins

with rhythmic frequency

let her be, they tell her mother

let her be

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© Johnmichael Simon



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