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Prompt:  Create a portrait of someone you know/have observed.  Use an item of importance to him/her to expand the image.

The Escape Artist

His walk was that of a man

seeking to fold himself up

and disappear,

but he held tight to his instrument

as if it were his last hope

to escape.

//That night,

he sat slouched, fists clamped

upon his knees.

His faded navy blue t-shirt

with the peeling white lettering

hung from his body,

making him look

like a child in a too big hand-me-down.

Drawing his guitar to him,

he rested it upon his thigh.

He sat that way for a long moment

rolling his narrow shoulders,

extending his lanky limbs;

shadowy clouds raging in his eyes.

//Abruptly stopping

his shoulders mid-roll,

he hugged his guitar close

and began to play.

His hands were like those of a magician,

fingers flying

up the neck

then back down.

I watched as he swept

himself into a reverie.

oblivious as

the lacquered mahogany body flashed like lightning.

//Steel strings thrummed

with each pluck.

A rapid succession of stormy chords,

let loose and splashed

forth like a down pour.

Then his song closed slowly,

the last stray notes drip-dropping in.

//He leaned back and closed his eyes,

those long, thin fingers still

wrapped around the guitar’s neck,

knuckles white.



One Response to “The Escape Artist (Portrait Assignment)”

  1. gkuhn on March 17th, 2011 11:22 pm

    I really liked how you compared the man playing the guitar to an escape artist in the title as well as when you described him as a “magician.” You definitely capture the essence of who this man is, mostly when the action of the poem seems to become a frenzy as he gets lost in his music. You can tell that playing the guitar is his escape from the pressures of the real world. The imagery is great when you go from having him stretching and getting ready to play, and when he suddenly begins to play, your word choice helped set it up to be climactic.