Roses and Crucifixes

Leon spray paints his name
on buildings all over Manhattan,
Adds a crucifix underneath,
the color of the sun's belly.
No-one has ever seen him.
Some call him God's messenger.
Others say he's just crazy.

Sara dresses in black, pretends
she's an artist, flattens her breasts
with duct tape til they look
like IHOP pancakes, thinks this
means she'll be taken more seriously

She paints pink roses.
Pink roses grow out of Bill
Clinton's fly. Pink roses rise
from monkey butts. She sold a rose
poking from Donald Trump's nose
to an old lady in the Bronx, Sara's
price for giving directions.

Sara never meets Leon, but passes
his crucifixes one day. Inspired,
she runs to her flat, paints a crucifix
on her belly in florescent pink,
opens her shades, dances in the window
nightly for one week. Exactly.
The Salome of Greenwich Village.

A man sinks to his knees beneath her window.
It's a sign, he says. Gives up sex for Lent.
Holds onto his head , avoids knives.
His wife soon leaves for her mother's.

Sara closes her shades,
drinks cool tea,
dreams of roses strangling
the Empire State Building.

Leon spray paints the Empire State dome,
finds himself thinking, oddly, of roses,
has strange cravings for pancakes,
lathered in nipple-pink molasses.

Pris Campbell

Artwork by Jerry Dreesen.  Jerry is one of the best artists today working with haiku of the old masters, such as Issa, to create haiga (a combination of artwork and haiku). I've been his fan for some time now. Jerry kindly created this particular piece of art especially for the above poem. Thank you, Jerry! You're wonderful.

Art is copyrighted. Do not copy without permission.

Published in the Spring 2005 issue of MiPo quarterly.

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                  copyrighted and used with permission