Lincoln’s Head

“Remember the color red,” she said. “When you see the Pyramids, remind yourself that they were once covered with earthy communist ochre. When you hear about Dorian columns and pantheons of human-formed gods, recognize that they were originally vermilion. Read about the Coliseum flooded with wide-open pink Republican mouths shouting down heaven-sent cries of praise heaped upon them by the half-eaten Christians who stood drowning in the blood of those who went before them. After you’ve read Dante, know that Aristotle was both teacher and slave. Would he have been any less of an artist if he had been less of a woman?”

A small amount of crusted dry saliva required dabbling. “Picture Picasso’s triangles outlined and erased. Hear my voice telling you that if someone has to explain it, then you don’t get it and you might as well just start all over again. Feel the burn, touch the fire, peer into the embers while they’re still alive.”

An ice cube rounded the speaker’s mouth while her tongue toyed with the idea of crushing it. “If someone offers you carbonated sugarwater, notice that the majority of popular flavors die tainted. Eat raw meat. Imagine a raging bull chasing a flying carpet that rolls out just before the toreador meets a long overdue and gory fate. Sample some barbequed chameleon.”

Kiss-stained glass shaped the teacher’s ruby-waxed lips for the last time. “Stop and smell. Go wild. Prick your fingers because you’ve learned that all flowers are not the same and that fresh-cut is never good enough if you’re really picky. Grow old and spotty. Relish the blotchy stigmata of rosacea. Develop robust hemorrhoids bursting with aromatic arrogance.”

“Reflect. Expand. Disturb.” The instructor sighed, lifted her watering hole, then thought twice about it. “Think of Lincoln’s head at the finish of the play.”

“Remember the color red,” she said.

Dennis C. Hasty

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