by Paul Potesta
My wife’s mother, aside from
being a judgmental racist
and all around rejecting parent,
was a pretty good artist.
A number of her paintings
hang from the walls in my office.
One of which is a colorful abstract
that’s been there for twelve years.
I like the mixture of bright colors
and mélange of forms, but
I’ve never taken the time to
examine it in detail, until yesterday.
For some reason I took a closer look
and what I saw was quite surprising.
There are erotic themes cleverly embedded
In a cacophony of colors and constructions.
There is an erect penis
right in the middle of the painting
where one supposes it should be.
A disembodied breast
hangs in the lower left hand corner.
Also two nude female figures, full frontal,
are languidly laid out
in the lower right hand corner among
other vaguely erotic forms scattered about.
The question occurred to me.
“Was I projecting my own inner life
onto the painting?”
I wondered what I might see
if I turned the painting upside down?
Several years before his death,
my wife and I were visiting
her father in the hospital where
he lay in a semi-state of delirium.
He was in withdrawal
from mis-prescribed medicines
and, what we were soon to find out,
quite uninhibited in his revelations.
At one point he looked at my wife
and said “You know your mother
was a whore. I think she liked sex
better than me. In fact last night
I dreamed she was part of an orgy.”
We were totally caught off guard and
could only say “that’s interesting
but too much information for
a daughter and her husband to digest.”
However, upon closer examination
of her mother’s art work, that
radiates from the wall in my office,
perhaps her father had a point.