The Illustrated Man

You could see the scars
where coloured ink sank deep,
making patterns in his flesh;
deeper than a love
which prompted the first cut,
one drunken night on shore leave
in some long forgotten port;
when Stacy was his girl,
decorated with a rose.

Then a panther leapt to mind,
embedding its image into the skin
of his back;
a dark shadow to protect him
from danger of surprise attack.
But its blind eyes
never saw the knife,
when he lost his life
in a bar room brawl.

The world had gradually
coloured him in,
etching out a journey
from Far East to Babylon,
across all the oceans.
The devil sat at his shoulder
so he knew where to find him.
A dragon on his right arm,
snake and dagger on the left.
At night in fractured dreams, they’d fight,
breathing fire and spitting
reptilian venom.

It seemed a shame to bury him,
he really belonged in a gallery.
But the sea accepted
without any fuss,
the man whose imagination
was for all to see,
drawing attention to himself.

The Illustrated Man

Nigel Bangert

Harlow, United Kingdom

Artist's Description

Published in Peer Poetry, April 1997.

Artwork Comments

  • Nancy Ames
  • Nigel Bangert
  • MotherNature
  • Nigel Bangert

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