This instalment was written for Manicddaily's prompt, Light and Dark for Groundhog Day at dVerse Poets
It was raining when I visited the monkey in captivity. The squirrel monkey (as I am now told he is) and sexy wife had both been given names and set to work with children's paints and brushes. So are they thinking (Kerry speculates of his tormentors, all-those-White-Coats- looking-into-monkey-minds-and-how- their-brains-perceive-the-world) my cage is a round blob to me? that tree a longish smudge along the ground? Well yes, that sums it up, I guess. That's what they think. Paintings 1 to 5, for instance. Monochrome. Dark, blotchy lines. Up and down the page. Like ink blots that have run together. Just one light corner. Bottom Right. (That's where the sun pokes in the cage.) Painted yellow. And then a growth of pale blue crystals - seemingly. First time, though, they all saw it differently. A memory of the forest then. Then came the day of darkness and a lorry parked beside the cage, a blaze of light. Kerry in his element -- until it moved. Then he went ape and threw himself around the cage and hurt his arm. Later he drew lines across the page before attacking it with vicious force. The theory was he had responded to the shadows of the bars, the way they'd swept across the floor. Kerry and Kitty often think (the theory also is) of all those images of heaven and of hell (their versions of, not ours) and sit there staring at the latest work (this one jointly executed) without flinching hours and hours. Their version of... consists (I'm told) of shadows moving, creatures looming (That's their hell) while heaven is each other and their chattering. Ask how they know a monkey's thoughts and the white coats speak of Stage 2 of their study. This follows when a painting's finished, framed and hung. The monkey sits like someone meditating, immobilised, except the hands and eyes are free. But nothing he can reach or see except the painting. We scan the brain. Observe which cells light up and which go out. His latest painting was a revelation, the way he circled blobs with his small finger, but when we trundled bands of light and darkness up and down the work or columns of thick shadow horizontally, he freaked out totally. Then when we let him go he made for Kitty, stroked and cuddled her, then ran back to the painting and did the same to it. We have concluded that it's Kitty birthing fanny. Their keeper, though, proclaims he could have done as much -- no need of scanners, infra red or head restraints -- all done with love and empathy. I, too, can follow -- with my eyes -- to see where their eyes go. The birthing picture Kelly worked with brush as kitty pointed to herself or stroked to show where was the hidden birth canal, then making circles round her breasts and abdomen. Their gestures are a proto language other monkeys know (and we could learn if we got close enough) They painted it small blobs at top where Kitty smiled, then larger going down to where she grimaced. At the bottom: cries of pain. Biggest and best of all the blobs with strongest darks and brightest lights are here. Gold medal goes to Baby Fanny's head. Big feelings get big contrasts and big blobs.