Poem: The Smell of Paint

art of Tom Atkins 4

The Smell of Paint

You breathe deeply.
There are mineral spirits in the air
and the smell of paint.

Around you, canvas and paper glisten.
Unfinished inspiration.
A life like yours, full of experiments,
so many gone, not wrong, but awry,
odd art, suitable for slicing into bookmarks,
rectangular reminders of stopping points
and the courage to fail with enthusiasm
(Thank you Winston)
and even glee.

It is what you do, less creation than capture
of the most elusive treasure you own,
your own emotions.

Beaten out of you young,
life has become a chase,
a journey of finding out your own heart before it escapes,
before it runs amuck, a child with seizures and scissors.

You breathe in
the smell of paint.
It grounds you.

Words ground you.
The touch of her hand…

Ah, that is another story altogether,
a tale of an old man’s passion and peace,
your place of safety,
safe to whimper and howl,
safe then to dance under the moon without reminders
of the myriad flaws all old men have.

We both know they are there, those flaws.
Small discords in the descant.
A color that clashes,
making the painting.

About this poem

Where did THAT come from? Winston Churchill, a batch of botched paintings, good coffee and a good night’s sleep.

Never underestimate the sneakiness of inspiration.

Tom

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