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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 2, June 2014

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Peter Butler
London, England


Things in My Attic

I climb the stairs to my attic, say good evening to Mona Lisa, who smiles indulgently (she thinks I’m a naughty old man), find a note from Mme. Froideur, the concierge, asking again if I’d paint her in the nude, in return for which she’ll redecorate my room.

I sit as usual in Van Gogh’s chair, less comfortable than it looks, and prepare escargots for supper, bathing each in a little garlic and absinthe.

Manet rings about his new painting, suggesting as title ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe?’ I say how about ‘Naked Lady with two Fellows Lunching in the Park?’ He’s not happy, doesn’t do irony.

Nor is Monet, who calls to ask what he should do now he’s bored with lilies. Edward Hopper, long-distance, says he’s lost the key to his New England home. Toulouse-Lautrec’s lost his cane again.

It is late. The lights from the Pigalle twinkle unconvincingly, like a tired mistress. I turn off the phone, say good night to Lisa, note that her eyes are already closed.

In bed, I watch a paint flake from the Sistine Chapel drift down like a lazy butterfly, settle on my pillow, and wonder if I should go along with Mme. Froideur’s request after all.

darkened side street
a few customers
waiting to be fleeced

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