SAM THE PICTURE MAN

We humored him as he made his rounds,

selling candy from a cardboard box

and his shirt-cardboard paintings

of grinning, paisley-shaped animals.

We would mock him, fool or simpleton,

and buy his pictures for a quarter.

*

Years later I watch with my son

the amazing maneuvers on the campus lawn

of a jugglers’ convention. Sam is there,

as before, but feeble and less coherent.

His paintings are larger, more accomplished,

the creatures peaceful and multi-legged.

*

Prices are high, he tells me;

“I pay for the cardboard now

and I use more paint. They wrote me up

in the magazine last year.”

He puts his hand on my son’s head

and I pay five dollars for a picture.

*

That’s cheap for anyone’s masterpiece,

a smiling eight-legged monster

that bears another monster inside,

and cheap for my son, at seven, to be blessed

among jugglers in the springtime

by one of God’s own fools.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/nyregion/outsiders-art-is-saluted-at-columbia-then-lost-anew.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

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One comment

  1. bkr0sen · · Reply

    I followed the link. One of God’s own fools painted the pictures; another kind of fool stored them.

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