Carbonn Sleeps

Carbonn Sleeps

Copyright © August 3, 2014 by Douglas W. Jerving.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the author, except as provided by USA copyright law.

The home was new to both of them. More new
For having known the old place they both used
Before they were both unknown more than he.

His easel was not found despite pacing
‘Round rooms John thought should be his studio
Weeks ago, and preparations being made,
With new flooring and a place in the sun
Despite the fact that daylight never would
Invade the place while he was working there,
For practicing his art into the night.

The contractors made clear that this new home
And studio for two, one up, one down,
Would satisfy them both for life and help
Them both enjoy the day which night was part
And lead them in their necessary styles.

She worked above him in the light of day;
He was a long dead plein-airist by trade
Of paintings no one really ever cared
To make their own, and so he moved
Into Abstractions that were closer to
The kind of art he knew that he could do;
But more, because the quaint reality
No longer represented him.

                                      “You go
Painting things no one today wants
Despite their power” And he knew
She was right. Power was not what he was after.
But authority, more somnambulistic,
Was the goal that he desired, yet had lost,
Or rather had forsaken in his quest for art.

So now he was hunting, the middle of night,
For an easel or a canvas without waking her
By going up to the second floor where stored
Were all their unsold works and blank canvas
Stretchings waiting for a moment in the sun
(For after all he was a plein-airist).

But he would not awake her for so small
A matter as rattling the eaves above her bed
To find an empty canvas he could use
At 3 A M before going back to work
The Monday next with hat, not heart, in hand
Because he had to take jobs at the tech
College for the county teaching drawing.

Carbonn sought, but could not prevail
Against the night that she slept against him;
Whilst he should be going upward to obtain
The canvases he could, only use, sustain
Himself as power against the darkness,
Become the artist he thought foreordained
So many years ago, but now was clear
Was just another destined for the paeans
Of anonymity.

                    “John!” Carbonn heard
Her call out his name. “Again?!” and again
He knew ahead of the stair that creaked
She already knew he wanted to ascend
Before the night was over and bring down
The long lost easel and its crown,
The blank canvas.

                          “No Dear Macie! No not
Do I inquire upon these steps to find
The future hope which died so long before;
Nope! Not looking for that hope of glory --
Us! Once respected synonyms! You! Me!”
He lies to her and as she shuts her eyes
Again to sleep, “I heard a voice outside
And thought I should investigate.”

                                               There was
No voice, she knew it was merely his pain.

Macie sleeps again, unaware while John
Continues up the steps to find the easel
Lost years ago, or maybe only days
Like the hound of heaven chasing him down
The vauntings of the years.

                                       “What, what!” she cries.
Then Macie, fast asleep, dreams deep again,
And Carbonn seeks the stairs ever upward
While she sleeps, to bring down from them his blank
Canvases to work in the dark of night
Back to the floor below from where they dream
(Or dreamed together once so long ago
That it might even seem just yesterday).

He pulls a great white canvas out and stands
Before it ready with a brush, no paint,
And realizes that his colors still
Are up above her whom he has now flown
And now must ascend above to get again.

Carbonn sets down his brush the night at last
And goes up the first stairs to the bed.

“John” says Macie, with a loving voice. “John!
Do you come now for what you have sought?”
And so he slides beside her into bed
Forgetting all the schemes that before lay
Against the great art of their love and life.
Carbonn settles down the night with his wife.


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the You may contact him at


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