i chose picasso

written on 10/22/16 at the poetry stand


they didn’t, but i chose Picasso.

because sitting in a classroom, with plastic desks painted to look wooden, chalkboards glossed to welcome impermanent markers, alongside students taught to be scholars…

we were taught to learn, with little flexibility on how

we were taught to be immovable among the pillars which define knowledge

and we were not not to create

we were sitting there, in our strict rows of ten by ten,

and the teacher flashed a screen

something that we were supposed to believe was real

upon it were two canvases, a mass of pixels in different “colors”

two landscapes, one green, one in vivid pastels, one Velasquez, one Picasso

and she asked us to compare it.

the style.

but how could we, being the scholars that we were:

“the Velasquez was more organized”

“more structured”

“more sensible”

she asked us to pick a favorite and why

“the Velasquez was a more sincere form of art, he really captured the truth of


they all nodded their empty smiles and cheery heads,

and looked at me strange when i spoke up


“i prefer the Picasso

i prefer his courage to deviate

i prefer his willingness to create

i like the angles and the curves, the outlines of his colors

i like the way i can see his spirit,

i like the way his paintings make me fly.”


xx elim

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