KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Ekphrastic Tanka Prose: 323 words

Ann Knickerbocker’s Interrogation II

by Charles D. Tarlton

Interrogation II: a painting by Ann Knickerbocker

CARMODY: I don’t mind looking. Where’s the harm in looking?

BLIGHT: She said you’d be skeptical.

You think you know a person whose habits and states of mind have become settled and usual. She’s so very pretty, you say to yourself, and kind of delicate. How could she even think that, let alone put it down in color for everyone to see? You could go in there, in a way she’s inviting you to go in, but you’d better think twice is all I can say. You see how hot those red things are, how the road is barred? And there’s something spilled on the floor, something blue, and something else that’s like a bloodstain.

what I imagined
was a car out of control
going off a cliff
in the dark, the bright headlights
feeling around in the clouds

metaphors standing
for the red end of the world
a crude graffiti
smeared on brick and concrete walls
making solid objects bleed 

do you think
a paintbrush alone could make
that? I mean could you
make splotches of color so
threatening, so voracious?

I want to see slats here, they make me think of decorative shutters on a beach house down on the Sound, of the windows of a French farmhouse we bought in Normandy, shutters you could close in the afternoon to keep out the sun, of the Venetian blinds in the hotel across from the Pantheon, and a wild roan pony racing away, seen through the boards in a paddock fence.

the protagonist
in Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousie
peered through Venetian 
blinds, spying on his wife
doubling up on jealousy

there’s a dark corner
where shadows lie in layers
folded so the red
light can’t come through. Have you felt
the dawn out on the desert?

maybe the last word
ought to be red, the hardest
color to forget
you remember the game? Think
of a color, you think red


—In June 2017, Ann Knickerbocker’s mixed-media painting appeared in Up in the Attic, Essex Art Association’s 2017 Elected Artists’ Exhibition, and is reproduced here with permission from the artist.

Ann Knickerbocker
Issue 8, August 2017

Please visit for details about the artist, and links to her galleries and her blog Artist in an A-frame.

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