AN ABSTRACT ART
When the painter Kandinsky lay in hospital, aching
from some mysterious complaint, he wept
to think about the surgeon’s knife, about being
wheeled into a room without intersecting circles
and squares in the cool blues that he loved, the altered
shapes in which he lived. Nurses cooed and patted
his shoulder, but he was not assuaged. His cry
spattered off the pale green walls and smeared
the yellow corridors, stopped those who heard
its pitch and timbre, its truth if not the implication.
“You do not understand!” he moaned, and the words
like a jazz refrain traveled up the vents and out
the windows, through the operating room, behind
the laundry door. “I have no skin! I have no
skin!” Throwing off the nurses, he clutched
himself, as if his arms could wrap his torso in the layer
of gauze he needed to face those unknown places.
What they didn’t see was that he knew his own
condition: Outside his picture plane – without
a brush and palette knife – he lay naked and alone.
Arcs and lines could not stay the bleeding edges,
random forms conspiring to erase him from creation.
Image: Wassily Kandinsky, Watercolor after Painting with White Border (Moscow), 1915. Watercolor, India ink, and pencil on paper, 5 1/16 x 13 1/4 in.