by Jacek Gulla

2 of 8.

—–Two characters come to my mind with the Mythology paintings around in my studio, mister X and mister Y.

—–A tragic actor in his early 70ties, mister X spends his days between the seniors’ club, an audience for his sheakspeariana, and his recent hobby, drawing. The airs he breaths belong with Balzac’s Humaine Comedy Paris. Cousin Pons and Cousin Grieu, collectors of antiquities, are his cousins. If there is anything dusty about him, it’s a dust of quality, to be nursed rather than wiped out, like the furniture it sits on, a jumble of stage props in congress, mister X being their diligent steward. The day he noticed lights of the chandelier have dimmed, ages in his pad, he reached for color pencils. Not that he had any experience with drawing, but a mannered hand, given to dance and keyboard in the past, should be able, he thought, to render in decent line and shape scenes from the same source, where I too draw my inspirations, Mythology. His drawing isn’t Blake’s, but strangely, the paper seems to glow through it, just the touch of freshness the chandelier lights have lost, necessary for soul’s cultivation.

—–He illustrates, I paint, I defend myself, whenever Tomorrow threatens to sweep both of us into history’s dust bin, ancient themes played out, brush belonging with the broom in the closet. Hundred years ago, mister X would, if lucky, do flowers for the Botanical Garden’s subscriptions, and I, to stay with flowers, I would paint water lilies, skies in between them. My Mythology lives, I insist, and his is merely recorded. And that life of it! It’s worth limelight many times over.

—–Now mister Y. Remember the private zoo massacre some place in mid West several months ago? The question is, how did its owner care-taker, mister Y, really die? Did he commit suicide, as was the news, or was he done away with, before animals were shot dead? If suicide was the case, he freed animals, that they avenge themselves on the town folk. No matter how he addressed the matter, he could not find job to afford their feed, himself a felon for two unregistered rifles, only months out of jail. And if murder is contemplated, the wild carnage afterwards holds for the motive. With families flying, home value hit bottoms. For as long as the zoo, starving wild, stayed on the hill, in care of a convict, the township was but a step from bankruptcy court. As to the question, why did not the responding forces catch the beasts, to give them life in a zoo someplace else? Well, imagine the guys with rifles got scared, deep there, where man and beast go the same. What, if animals learn to talk human, and spill what really happened?

—–You may ask, what does that story have to do with my Mythology? For one, the terrible beauty. They, the zoo, were still the same lions and bears and apes, that populate the Garden of Eden in the Wavel Castle tapestries, that have seen Apollo weep, that managed to avoid Midas’ deadly greedy grasp. As they fall prey to human folly, extinction looming, they share the fate of creatures no longer to be seen around the Mediterranean, Pegasus for one, one-eye Cyclops, Meanders. And here, see, how my paintings come to the rescue, the one with lion and siren caught en flagrante in a lightning glow, sex before humans, before gods.