Before the wedding, to brighten
their basement flat the man painted an antique jukebox
on the wall. Its top was a rainbow dome.
The discs, meticulously numbered, formed fans on both sides.
Down there, a slit wide and long enough
for a £2 coin.
He painted over existing furniture, too:
The wooden armchairs looked like
dragon boats. The bed resembled
a Liberace piano.
She said he must no longer draw the likeness
of nude girls for American patrons. But the world
was infinite. She said he could draw vases for catalogues,
church spires, reposing dogs. He might try
to dabble with new lettering or wallpaper designs.
She would continue to carve wood and make
ornate candle holders. She said
now that they were respectable, she wouldn't
make naughty glassware.
One day, the sculptor asked the painter:
How would you cut a body into two parts?
He preferred diagonally, just under the chest.
She thought cutting off a finger was best.
Such was the kind of thing they talked about.
The following day they asked
whether blood is redder than red and where
red came from if not from blood.
He also gave young ones classes:
First, draw a leaf. Start from nature.
Fill in the veins. Or, a hand. The smooth and
subtle forking lines. Next, definite shapes such as
a cube, a ball. The human form comes last.
And before that, objects upon objects.
Translate vision into prose, then brushstrokes,
until it is one with the other. As in life,
allow impreciseness. Attend to colour,