A Finger Painter Derailed by Circumstance


I used to smear paint on these same walls
for hours, oblivious, and perfectly content.
Primary colors swirled together quaintly.
Life imitating art imitating life, replicated.
But somewhere along the way I started
worrying about my posture and a 401k.
And utilities and sodium and calories.
And new school clothes for the munchkin.
And rent and car payments and exercise.
Yet at night I dream about feeling the wet
textured slime oozing between my fingers.
Creating a valley full of elk and squirrels.
Or lily pads with frogs and ducks in a pond.
A hellish forest fire blaze belching smoke
skyward along the pale coastal highway.
Infinite fractals spring forth from ancient
man-made mythological and dark desires.
The quest for more light is endless.
How many stars must I chase only to
ignore the closest sunlight on my face?
How many solid relationships must I flee
from because the idea of commitment is
too stifling, too vanilla, and too final?
How many screens must I view daily in
order to quell my boredom and curiosity?
I need to unleash something feral.
I need a tangible tool in my hands.
I need to entwine and breed with chaos.
Verily, I vow to continue to map the
constellations by torchlight while
smearing finger paint
on my cave walls.


Eric Lawson is the author of the short story collection Circus Head (Sybaritic Press) and the forthcoming poetry collection Backseat Emperor (2nd Avenue Press), in which this poem will appear. He co-wrote the screenplay for the horror anthology film Body Count (“Holly Hatchet” segment). He is also the host of the video podcast Make Your Own Fun on YouTube.

Jasper Glen is a poet and collage artist from Vancouver. He holds a BA in Philosophy and a JD. His poems appear in A Gathering of the Tribes, Amsterdam Quarterly, BlazeVOX, Posit, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. His collages are forthcoming in BarBar, Liminal Spaces, and Streetlit.