The Art of Stephanie Sinclaire :: Painting, Art, Film, Theatre, Writing

Stephanie Sinclaire Lightsmith

Stephanie Sinclaire Lightsmith


© Stephanie Sinclaire

I first met Lola, her reflection in the polish of the table, mirage eyes linking with my own as I pass. A Munch-like beauty. Dark hair. Cloud. Narcotic eyes. I ask J. if he thinks she’s beautiful. He turns and peers beyond her at the clock. “Not really.”

I strain to hear her. She talked a strange rambling talk, her voice rising easy from her solar plexus: “For much of my life art has been a refuge…it has offered me a way into a different realm akin to first blush fast fade new love. From the time I anointed my father’s paintings with the disused syringe from my tetanus vaccination…from the time I spoke upon the stage and became more than my life was.
She saw me staring at her. She looked away but her volume increased. This was a communication. J. spoke, obscuring. I caught snatches between his words: “spirit…expression…marketplace. I must sculpt a profound statue out of nothing—
Like poetry. Like glory.” She quoted the Bird of Benin. I was transfixed. I longed to shout Bravo! and clap my hands. “Are you all right?” J. asks. I drop my eyes. In the end you are exactly what you are.

I thought I dreamed her. I enjoy myself desiring. I long for her like a sister in the glass. My anima incarnate. An absurd perfume assaults the senses, the piercing reverie which lances.

An earth slapping mantra my feet thrust out before me. I nearly knock her down. Silence. Remarkable blackness her eyes. She and me. Me and she. There never was any doubt. I would be the ear. Would listen, listen to her mesmeric undulating tones, sparky rambling and in love with themselves. The sounds transport me while I stare at pinky lips curve over crooked teeth— eyebrows mobile as sparrows wings and wonder how this odd confusion of features could mean so oddly much to me.

We fall into step, drink Retsina on park benches, dance a mean Bossa Nova, a somnambulistic saxophone tearing the dark. Knocking back the sharp pine sap, walking hand and hand by dawn, talking until our thoughts float wordlessly on mist, the sun clocking time by grass blade, rearranging reflections.

My nerves are open to the wind, vibrating a non-negotiable energy. With a languid burst she says, “There, sunset tree-frogs, Tiny Amazons sailing through grass fire. Here, the people of the land found their spokesman and erected arguments for his sake and still one can be found atop the Wrigley Building in Chicago. Up on top.”

I knew then that I loved her. Complete and irretrievable. I press her to me. Caress. The life in our skin flies like tiny Amazon tree-frogs sailing through grass fire. Such a giving and a mixing. We made a statue out of emptiness. Poetry. Glory. Shudder bitter liquor I weep inside her. My heart sees dark winged eyes that walk over all things but hear me not. There is a sky blooming within her. Soundless stars I cannot reach to touch.

I ask her to dinner to meet the family. I had to. I’m perversely drawn to the potentially catastrophic. It all went wrong, of course. She became a coarse mannering baboon in anticipation of disapproval. She disagreed with everyone, madly quoting, making things up. Mother paled. She spoke flirty of insects with filamentous appendages at the posterior end of their bodies. Father thought harlot trollop tart. She wrote an apology –

Dearest, Forgive my hot flash but you see I am upset by fathers. Thrust willy nilly backwards. Burdened with double vision (somewhat different than second sight).
Love, Lolalalalalalalalalala
P.S. Was interested that your mother recorded relation to intense response on part of parent accelerate participation and communication on part of child (you) and observed effect of early trauma with same sex and opposite sex parent, especially father – absence.

Oh, Lola. Mater Dolorosa. Deep sadness. Dark eyes. I drink her tears. Like Lucifer, the light bearer, she held the perfection of suffering beauty. Vanquished, fallen, transfixed by the eye of God which froze her in its demand for supremacy.

Kiss my sweet back porcupine. Suck the pain with my syringe and anoint the painting of her limbs. An offering. I always forgive her. Always.

She woke up in a sweat. Yellow diamonds on taut skin. She said the moon had come in the window. It won’t be long now. She said.

I wrapped my wings around her glossy head and cooed. She wrapped me up in forms geometric and profuse. The edges of the skin dissolve to the fanfare of hearts beating thud thud drum beats on the ear drum, the streamlined howl of white wolves weaving in the sylvan birch beneath the Colorado moons, wet slippered silver dollar pussy willow swallow me. Turn me on like the bright blast circle soaking the window-pane. An electric box floating … becoming me.

“It won’t be long now.” She called me Kitty man.

I had Lola finally. The need was equal. Balanced like Philippe Petit upon a wire. Impaled on the sheet like a butterfly. How many angels?

It was February paralysis. We stopped drinking in search of the sublime. We watched telly. She grew paler. I (she) gave all my money to bums. We drank gin and bitters at seedy bars. Her radar is a magnet. I tell her dusky coloured that I love her. Rune maiden evoker of the alive and the dead. I try to make the words immortal. I cup her shoulders. I kiss her square on the lips in front of the regret mongers and the scallywags, the whole blooming bar. But nobody sees. Least of all her.

Then the rain came. She walked numinous below the ribald moon, a delicate filigree her wet hair coiling on her cheek, her dress sodden and transparent. The rain fell and would not stop. We huddled. Babies wailed. Church bells clanged. Danger makes a din. Danger makes you pray. The night was bright with lightening curling on rooftops. Saint Elmo’s Fire. The earth was unearthly bright. Geysers rose from sewers, manholes clattered gunshot, shattering the pavement, slashing the spring flower at the root. The people swelled like mushrooms in damp rot. Pale translucent fleeting. Wooden doors swelled and cracked. Door jammed white flash muscle tense blue current rings on fingers shrunk to tight metal straps on the electric chair and then the buildings toppled metal fire-walk mangled among the stone. The melt of limestone statues wash the streets. Rivers belch corpses and ivory keys. A bloated hand. A soggy loaf. A holocaust of fog, a petrified forest, a glowing haze, a hum of prayer.

It won’t be long now.

She had grown in the night. She was transforming. Replacing pain with wanderlust, so hard to conquer. She said, “ I feel like a pole of electric light. Radiating, expelling, gathering.”

We walk outside. The air is cool and clear. Humans, always happy in a crisis, were rebuilding. She threw her arms around the passers-by. She began to tremble, her pupils dilated. I began to explain myself with an accompaniment of jerking hands. I expel an acrid odour. I renounce my personality, become plain, pared to the bone.

She says, “ The planes and colours and shapes of paintings. The image. The vision. The spirits of Huarakan, Kukulan, Gukametz. Earth, tempest, nebula, thunder, lightening. Oxygen. Hydrogen.”

I cup her face and kiss her for an eternity. I know she will not turn back. I have become invisible. She sails through the air. A magnificent airborne ship.

The ulcers of divinity swell my belly. My blood red heart pumps the music, a jamboree moon my soul cannot reach to rip. Now I understand the vacuum in your love, the acid in the belly waking up with you, waking up without you.
I am already one with the dust swirling in the shafts of the afternoon light. I light a cigarette and blow myself away.

A letter comes.

Kittyman – All I know is morning sun time comes down slow low on pigeon coo brow.
Spun sun filters through tree tops. Blind yellow sun cuts red gold water path. Light bathe water. Sun lathe cuts across sand stranded desert dune mind. No longer human dance. Lost sailor song washed clean. Broken empty shell bleached white. Earth bound shell loosely used.
Over back and down to earth regress.
Dark wood splendour cut glass light.
Morning sun drips syrup S

No return address.

Years later J. hands me my coffee and says, if dreams come true they’re not dreams anymore.

The magic tricks of your tongue. The way you navigated space.
Lol. Lol. My.

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