• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 03
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A Sketch of Declining Promise

Thumb out, squint down.
You are a scrawlbler
who would blush
to be called an artist.
What a wide white expanse
of Bristol Board you have—
a sheet to the wind of promise.
Implements are laid out neat:
that sophisticated brush—
a sacrifice of sable,
every grade of lead so sharp
that they almost pierce skin,
and in pride of place
the refined nib pen
(shipped over oceans and plains
by unceasing mules and dauntless pigeons)
the metal tip glints knowingly
like a wry surgical tool,
and it's enough to draw a tear.
This unmarred blank part is fragile.
Hold breath and rule them panels.
Damn. Lines are somewhat skewed,
and you have a pencil scratch
that you can't remove
no matter how you scrub.
That distinguished pen
gives you a few good lines
and then bokes ink splatter
when you look away for a second.


A Sketch of Declining Promise

And while trying to fix that,
you've smudged on a partial print.
It's a messy, nerve-wracking technique,
but if anyone knows a better way,
you'd certainly be glad to hear it.