6 [business card]: Kelly Jayne, BA, MA. Artist. Art Psychotherapist.
Parade of grave shoes. Their shadows shrink and loom. He believes he sees them, so he sees them. He watches them askew. They hover and pass, never ending. The shadows were drawn to this place, he imagined, by some collective memory. Or, for reason more ethereal, though what that could be was beyond his cognition.
Seven hundred and twenty-six days at this location, on the abbey square, on the pavement. He reckoned it vocation. To the railings, he insinuates the paintings, weaving them between the bars and, to the paving, pins them with a pocket stone at every corner. He palms his knees, they won’t see him. He watches the shadows askance. Every day their strange demented language clangs the air. It is the sound of hammered anvils, the peal of distant bells. The abbey square rings with their lament. Picture their faces.
When the daylight shrivelled and their number faded, he rolled the portraits, pocketing the stones. He shouldered the cape and made his pilgrimage through the streets of the town. Reaching the beach, he found the tide was low. He suffered the rocks as Saint Cuthbert. He bore the plastic bags’ stigmata. And, beneath the bugle seabirds, and the cymbal’s crash, he returned to the cave.
Of an evening he would summon them, picturing their faces. He’d eat his meal from his knees, and then draw the shadows from his head with the Big-Boy crayons. He marvelled at his gift of memory, his gift for realism. When it became too dark he rolled the portraits and lay down in his cape, but sleep eluded him. His mind raced. How happy they must be to see themselves depicted by him, on the paving, on the abbey square. What joy he brought them! Their stupid dog and cat and rabbit faces; their strange and sparkling, almost human, eyes. Their teeth.
And now an orange skein lips the horizon and rushes the cave. The seabirds reel around the sun, as if they were praising it. The waves suck the air. He gathers his portraits and, cradled in crayoned scraps, in this bed of creation, he writes up a new pavement sign.
I accept alms. I accept prayers for these paintings of you. I grant you safe passage to the other side. This is the sign.
He wrapped the cape about him and made his pilgrimage to the abbey square.
©reeves. penn beacon/ 20/07/19