—after the painting by Anna Lee Hafer
Why would I lie to you? The sun glimmers like a lost ›
pocket watch, melting. See how it drips radiance
into each shadow/shade of thought, each mountain ravine,
each swirling field of grass arching toward evergreen?
Follow the hare wherever. Better late than never — never
falling from here to there. Watch your step. Inside
the mind, another landscape erupts: oversized/shrunk,
all meaning slanted. Why would I tell you the truth?
The missing pieces are yours for the choosing: King or
pawn. Roll the dice and pick a card to view the other side
of story. Daily, the Queen of Hearts rages.
Why would I lie to you? Survival is a decision
of the soul. One square forward, one square back,
one square diagonal, one square sideways. Here?
There? Nowhere? What will you make of this empty
space, the deserted chessboard filling quickly
with choice? Time is up. The wild sky is falling
Why would I tell you the truth? or rising with the flares
that you’ve ignited, your luminous lines and arrowed signs
leading to destinations far beyond this canvas
where the surreal whirls a vision of green that keeps
the world swaying. Don’t look up/down/here/where?
Just breathe. Don’t look. Just keep seeing
what’s right behind the stars, the skin, the Cheshire’s
grin. Why would I lie to you? Your move.
*Italicized phrases are taken from the artist’s description of the work, as well as from words and phrases hidden within the painting.
Artist’s Statement: “Your Move” visualizes the conversation between artist and audience, in which the audience first questions the artist as a reliable and trustworthy source.
Rather than answering, the artist poses her own questions to the audience: “Why would I lie to you?” or “Why would I tell you the truth?” Each question solicits the same answer because they summarize these questions: “Why juxtapose words and diverse images without instructing the audience to ‘look’ (‘Don’t look up/down/here/there/where? . . . nowhere?’ . . . ‘Don’t look.’)? Who is this painting really for?
Just like answers, the audience can roll the dice and pick a card. But do they follow the artist’s instructions before they enter this painting of a make-believe Wonderland?
Again like questions, the artist tells her audience that it’s their “move” now, before “time is up.”