The Dead Bees

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The Dead Bees

Post by InspirationMoonwalks » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:35 pm

[align=center]The Dead Bees

Inspired By “A Story about the Body”, a poem by Robert Hass

By: Tara, October 2009[/align]

You watch as the painter’s brush dresses her half naked canvass, with strokes of colors so ordinary they might look out of place if the work they were merging together to build wasn’t so goddamn brilliant. If only you could write songs the way she paints.

But your last statement, recorded nowhere but in the vast expanse of your mind, is not one of envy but rather of admiration. Admiration for the way she moves the brush and her body with it, slow and deliberate but with a kind of fire that, you muse, must come from some irrepressible force within.

Her raven hair, streaked with the odd strand of silver, is long, full, and decisively unkempt, her heart shape face without a trace of makeup, the laugh lines that dance upon it when she smiles in the thrill you surmise must come from being so naturally adept, unobstructed. She’s not your type at all but somehow, she is beautiful.

You’d come to the artist’s colony, in the middle of nowhere, that summer in search of this inspiration. In the beginning, New York City had been a kind of oasis, a liberating, artistic mecca, an escape from the suffocating oppression that was life in the suburbs, the place where you were born and raised but was never, ever your home. You hadn’t even bothered to stay in town for your High School graduation. You hopped on that Greyhound bus that morning, of the day on which you just happened to turn 18, never looking back.

At first, you ate and just barely made rent on your pitifully small and dingy apartment by playing gigs in small coffee houses, clubs, and bars. But of course this couldn’t go on for long before you were sleeping on a bench in Central Park, crumpled eviction notice in hand but nothing but song ideas in what should’ve been your troubled mind. Reality was never your strong suit.

You crashed on a sympathetic buddy’s couch the next night, and then the night after that until lady luck smiled upon you once again, both with a longer term gig that allowed you to make rent on another place and again several weeks later in form of a talent scout who just happened to be in the bar you were playing at for a drink that night. The possibilities he offered you seemed endless, almost as too good to be true as it, sure enough, ended up being, the next day when you checked the mail. You sure as hell weren’t going to Vietnam so you burned your draft card and took the scout up on that Julliard scholarship offer instead.

But now you’re tired of old New York, of pointless classes and long, boring lecture halls, of composing ballads about the richness of the city, about finding love in small cafes or all the other things that had, despite the approval of your audiences, grown trite some time ago.

You know the woman before you is nearly three times your age, but you find yourself unable to care. In this moment, all the pretty actresses and ballerinas you’ve bedded back at Julliard disappear, confined to the dustbin of your sexual history, to the lyrics in your songs. You’re already hearing new ones in your head, with rhythms you’ve just begun to realize.


You feel the heat of the young composer’s stare. You can’t imagine the interest someone like him would have in your art. Or you. For all the many questions and reflections as he has on your work and the way in which you go about it, he seems to be even more interested in the artist than he is on the artwork, which baffles you. Is it possible that he could desire you? You don’t see how or why. You don’t even remember your last real flirtation.

You had a lover, a significant one, that big love they say only comes along once. The two of you met in France, where you had escaped to from war scarred Japan, no longer home. He was a Parisian and Paris was home to you both for a grand while. You had known each other approximately a week before you’d moved into his small flat, with room enough on the walls for a few of your most personally cherished works and enough space for the makeshift office in the kitchen you never used, where he hammered away on his typewriter, deep in thought until all hours of the nights you didn’t make love, on chapters of those novels he never seemed to finish. You had a view of the Seine and a rhythm until that free flowing urge you, both artists, shared made itself known, propelling you to move.

You travelled the length of Europe with stops in Milano, Amsterdam, and Madrid along the way, you peddling your art, your soul mate giving lectures at universities to help pay the bills while he waited for a decision letter from yet another magazine or journal, while he waited to finish the novel that would land him that book deal. You ended up in London, which provided a contentment that lasted a surprisingly long while. Maybe this was, finally, your place.

Then the monster came, the one that threatened to devour that contentment and you with it. Several agonizing, pain, fear, and vomit ridden weeks passed until it was finally able to be put at bay, but not without taking a piece of you with it.

He left when your body changed.


The canvass is now fully dressed, in flowers that appear drooping yet determined to stand, perhaps, you muse, with the hope of pollen from the bees approaching them, multiplying in number with each black and yellow splotch her brush applies to it.

This seems to be a consistent pattern in her work. Drooping flowers of all kinds, magnolias, lilies, daffodils, orchids, even roses, but in the drabbest forms of color, hardly the type in which you would envision them. And then there are, without fail, bees. Bees that, while always present, never quite seem to reach the flowers in any of the paintings. You wonder aloud if that is meant to represent some kind of distant aspiration, of something desired but not quite achieved.

A wry smile seems to be her answer to your question, a smile that brings out those laugh lines, even more prominently than before. Then she gives you a response that only serves to invigorate your curiosity more.

“I don’t know. Perhaps.”

The volume of her voice is as small as her hands and the quantity of her words. It seems to you as though all that she contains within herself, all that is repressed by her aloofness, is spilled upon her canvass whenever the urge of inspiration strikes her. In that moment, in this impression, you wish you could contain more within yourself, that you could preserve more of your inner workings, that they could be stored in your heart and creative conscious until the time to write the music and lyrics arrives. Maybe then, there would be more such occasions, of self-motivated, inspiration induced sessions of artistry, as opposed the ones you’d force your mind to create, to adhere to the next deadline on your syllabus.

You love her vagueness, the self-expression that presents itself in form of her art that replaces the need for very many words. But still, you long to know more. In this moment, you are that drooping flower, clinging to the hope of pollen from the distant bee, the distant bee that is her.

There is an open air concert Saturday night, you tell her. Would she like to go?


You walk the trail with the young composer, the bittersweet scent of pine and dust wafting through the summer air as you discuss everything from Beethoven to the Beatles, from Picasso to Andy Warhol. You tell him you don’t understand how a simple impression of a can of soup could be considered great art. He laughs, telling you that you still don’t get Americans.

You suppose you don’t. But you do want to “get” him, the way your skin tingles underneath the silky confines of your loosely fitted blouse at the thought of him wanting the same. This thought lingered all throughout the concert, as his smoky blue eyes followed your every rhythm, your body feeling almost as uninhibited as it does when you paint. Since London, since the monster, this has been out of character for you, a high climb over the stone wall you have constructed for yourself, a rule to be broken only when the urge to paint calls.

Laughing, the two of you come to the door of your cabin and out of nowhere, he reaches down, plucking a rose from one of the bushes just outside the porch, taking care to avoid any thorns. With a wink and slight nod, he hands it to you. The biggest, most vibrant one of the bunch, the one the roses in your paintings might be if only the bees could reach them.

Moved by the moment and his brand of disarming sweetness, you lean forward, touching your lips to his. They are dry and the stubble of his chin feels rough upon your face, but somehow it feels comfortable, warm, welcome.

You no longer question his intent. This action, this night, has made it clear.

You break away with the blood, the heat rushing through your veins, the sensations long relegated to the dustbin of your history, until now, the sensations that urge you to speak the words you say next.

"I think you would like to have me. I would like that too, but I must tell you that I have had a double mastectomy."

He stares at you, his long, chestnut hair swaying with the light, summer breeze, confusion written all over his bearded but otherwise boyish face.

“I’ve lost both my breasts,” you clarify, having spoken the name and nature of the monster, the repressive, self-defeating and belittling beast you feel you have finally beaten back. Until the moment he backs away, taking with him the rhythm, the radiance that had been there all throughout the concert, the walk home, these days in each others’ company, leaving behind only the shallow yet excruciating wound, the one you’d only just begun to heal from, ripped open again.


You wake the next morning, the light in the room stinging your weary eyes. Your shallow sleep had been as pointless as the night before.

You still aren’t sure what it was that made you pull back. Was it the loss of the urge or of the fantasy that had produced it? Why were you so repulsed at the mental picture of her form, newly clarified? Had your attraction to her ever been rooted in the physical? Wasn’t it her essence, her aura that had driven you to feel those sensations in the first place?

You find yourself annoyingly unable to find answers to those questions. All you know, all you are certain of, is that the vibe has changed. You no longer hear the melodies, the words to the songs that had sounded so flawlessly clear before. How could you make love to someone you pity?

It is then that old New York calls you back, back to the grit of the streets, the impossibly quick yet somehow soothing rhythm of life there, an actual life, not just a painting, an impression of one, out here in the middle of fu.cking nowhere.


Tears stream down your cheeks as you pace the length of your studio, back and forth, up and down, but not without a purpose. You are utilizing a much bigger brush than you normally do, with a larger, more barren canvass. Yet it does have one thing in common with the one you use for your paintings: bees. Bees that invariably filter in, through the screen door you keep open for air and ambiance when you work in there. Immersed in the world you enter each time you paint, you pay no mind to the bees as they congregate in the corners. The ones that fail to find their way out are often there for days until they either become entrapped in one of the small webs in the corners or simply wither away for lack of food. You find them, as many as a dozen at a time. Sometimes, you simply dispose of them, laying them to rest under one of the large trees outside, other times you keep them, as a kind of observational tool for your work. Now, they serve a greater purpose.


You sling your large, brown leather bag over your shoulder. There is a bus station three miles down the road and you figure that if you get started now, when it’s still early enough, you can make the next bus back to the city.

You head out the door, once again not looking back. You are done with this place. The art wasn’t even that great anyway.

On your way out, you nearly trip over something ceramic and hard. Uttering a few profanities, you regain your balance and your eyes identify the object that almost caused you to fall. It’s a small blue bowl, one that would be something of an eyesore with the exaggerated bright hue of its shade, if not for the brilliant red rose petals that adorn the top of it. Some of them have spilt from the bowl, onto the porch. As have the dead bees.
[align=center]\\\"It's all for love. L.O.V.E\\\" ♥--Michael Jackson [/align] [align=center]We miss you... [/align]


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