A Short Treatise on Ugliness


“…almost no one ever devoted a treatise of any length
to ugliness…”

               – Umberto Eco, On Ugliness






graffiti on the brick wall
a twisted knife that was her eye
a broken finger on the bone
piercing night’s frozen lice

the artist was so elegant
she shot the cop in gold
his blue cap and blood skull
fly through me into snow

we like to think we’re civilized
that Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’
her garish green and yellow face
are beautiful flattened against the pain

(those are demon eyes that once were coins
a wooden death mask gape-toothed and wise
like some hawker from the local carny
squawking beverages of bliss from hell for lies)

come this way he tells me
we have other things for you
so delicate you must descend this stair
(“oh watch your head!”)
where the darkness turns in you

a Fat Lady is sitting in the room
sifting cards upon a silken table-cloth
she laughs like Dolly Parton yet sips
her tea like Molly’s own Fibber McGee

out of the wall an invading platoon of Walrus’s
bulbous eyes aglow horned beaks set to claw
approach me from the alleys of my mind
like foreign agents of desire seeking recompense or fire

the waddle of their gate suggests a another noble lie
I smile allowing them to waltz on by
relieved that my Oreo cookies are still intact
and I the mottled guest can follow them inside

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

*Note: a surreal nightmare, somewhere between history and myth…

3 thoughts on “A Short Treatise on Ugliness

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