Bill Traylor

Everyone is pointing to exemption. To the sky, the blue asylum. To the man, who must work. The birds are all-knowing—to the point of disinterest—but the drinking man is off balance, his spirit is exposed. He is confused by his own jeopardy; when something strikes from the clouds, believe me you will want your hat. Bring me deep red, and deep browns, and deep blues … and plenty of deep, deep blacks. I will create an archive and a prologue. I will draw a man in fever, pointing, he arches from the sky; the only knowledge in each of our breaths is that the sky cannot contain everyone. Even the doughty bird can fall, only a pellet. I wanted to be plowing so bad today. I wanted to put my hands in the dirt. I wanted the dirt to be mine, and the horse haunches, heartier than anything in the city—except machines. I paint a blue goat stretching for the moon. You can rein a goat, but it’s no use chasing a bird. Birds are the oppressors. It’s from a bold thinking they know the sky. No way except by cudgel to reason with that: pride. The dog has dignity. The dog has a dog inside, and he is sheltered from the light that splits seams. I begged them to let me go out the way I came in, but I came in with two legs and I’m not leaving that way. Of all my suffering, and now I must greet my wives on such unequal footing. Even though we unowned, equally, our limbs. Only bright color can truly express darkness, a feathering knife driving snug through leather, and if you’ve seen all of man’s angles, from the ground all the way to the heart, then you know that too much line is barbaric. Never be sorry, or it may just happen again the next time around. At the periphery of the circle, no man is the right size. But the man in the center is alone.

Nic Leigh‘s work has appeared in The Collagist, DIAGRAM, UNSAID, Gobbet, and the Atticus Review.

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