Over the immured years and at many penitentiaries; I was, and have been locked in oh so many of cells. There were, are times in the wee-hours of dark-night. That another prisoner was shoved into my cell. I awake, prepare for who knows what, talk or fight. It is the way of things and no more….Yet, I write thus to relay of a certain prisoner that came to cell-13 one stormy night long ago. Yes, as rain, thunder and lightening commenced….He came….The rain so hard it stopped vision. Thunder so loud, its’ sky-ward roar seemed to shake stone. Aah, and when those silver-fire of lightening bolts came down, straight as if spears meant to kill…. So, I sat on the edge of the bunk. The fresh prisoner, there, across from me. The last sound after moment’s thunder was the bang of the cell door….This prisoner of average height, thin, prison clothes still wet stood there, stared at me and I him with only the talk of silent eyes and nothing more. Then, a strange thing. For I turned my head, not much, just a turn….Once, my stare was back upon him. He was painting. Yes, painting on canvas with a brush upon an easel. With the very, first strokes, the cell became a sealed tomb, nothing in it: no sink, no toilet, no bunk, nor nothing of what a prisoner owned, nothing. Only a tomb that I was encased in with he that paints…. I opened my mouth to speak. He quickly stopped painting, glared my way, my mouth snapped shut. So, he painted…. I watched. Yet, the only color applied; and I had to step closer through special darkness to realize, was, the color ‘black’. Yes, he only painted in black…. As I looked on. The blackness began to fill my eyes with much awe. In that pitch I saw beauty. I saw horror. I saw the sweetest love known to man…. Upon his canvas things kept changing. I saw a fierce, unrelenting battle between Angels and grotesque beast; much blood-letting, the gray-black grass held the dead and the undying and in the very center of the mayhem was a golden Bible being offered up to the Heavens’ by hacked off limbs. I saw a vast, emerald rolling sea, felt the spray of it against my face. I saw a forest of tall, strange trees, hearing wind charge through the leaves. I saw a gay city, its’ lights, came laughter and a small, sleepy town where a woman knelt in prayer as a church bell tolled. I saw the old and the child in hunger. I saw and even smelled an enchanted, beauty’s long, lovely, auburn hair, her eyes beckoned me so, her soft, red lips aroused me, whispering in my ear. I saw all and everything of life I ever wished and dreamt of and for…. In time as the hours passed, my eyes grew heavy. His free hand reached out and caressed my hair….saying,” I promise these things: the clouds will bleed, from the bowels of prison you, yes you shall be known for all time “….And I wept….Then, out of nowhere, I felt the warmest blanket upon me; warmed by morning sun….
By: George Martorano