Xerxes Lagoon exists to paint music
in clouds of ambient noise.
The disembodied heads of composers
stare from his rhythmic auroras.
Picasso called him the Sultan of Synethesia.
Dali called him the oddest roller
in the pinball parlour of life.
Those who question the authenticity of his eccentricity,
their sluggish, shrunken brains are lacking electricity.
Enroute to an artists retreat,
Xerxes was oblivious to the jarring motion
of the all terrain vehicle.
He didn’t notice the driver swerve
to avoid a coyote.
We could’ve been on a dancefloor,
in a rodeo arena,
or a cooking pot, for all Xerxes knew.
He was shocked to discover
the rainforest had given way to desert.
Above the cacti canopy,
on a barren hilltop,
the smoke shrouded, blood red sun
glinted off a mysterious object.
It was abstract enough to baffle us all,
yet recognizable enough
to inspire countless hypotheses.
experimental military aircraft,
meteorological research station,
avant garde limousine, in levitation mode.
psychedelic sculptor’s residence,
and interdimensional pixies conference centre,
were among the multitude of theories.
I reached the object from a rocky outcrop.
A sequence of dull thuds,
upon its shimmering surface,
was followed by percussive orchestral brilliance.
It’s vibratory contortions
converted random strikes into eerie melodies.
I couldn’t shake the feeling
it was trying to communicate.
Somewhere in Xerxes comprehending gaze,
lay the keys to the ghost in the machine.
While we watched a hawk descend on a wounded rodent,
the mysterious object vanished.
In its place
was an exquisitely detailed mandala.
Under a microscope,
random imperfections hinted at hand painting.
It was wet when we found it.
Rhiannon concluded it was a gift
from extra terrestrial hippies,
that their sky borne palace
existed to give birth to mind mending art.
Xerxes uttered his first words in weeks.
“Sometimes my ideas solidify.”
He refused to elaborate.
Xerxes next words were “biscuit of light.”
The context was as forthcoming
as a stone age nuclear winter.
Had he descended into word salad
or was he alluding to the nourishing light of reason?
For the duration of the retreat,
Xerxes was quieter than his brushes.
He painted for days, collapsed into sleep
and resume painting before he awoke.
Sometimes he remembered to eat.
Xerxes winter exhibition “Astral Travel,”
blurred the distinction between painting and sculpting.
He’d created aerial views of tree obscured landscapes
we’d passed while his head was buried in a cushion.
The oldest painting on display
predated our desert journey.
It depicted the unidentified object,
on the barren hilltop,
above the cacti canopy,
from a demystifying angle.