Broad Brush Art

What’s considered great art isn’t static at all.
There are always new trends that beguile and enthrall.
We’ve had cave art, art deco, abstract and baroque.
There was cubist, impressionist, pop art and folk.
Each had palettes and brushstrokes that set them apart,
but the newest and greatest is called Broad Brush Art.

It takes years at an Ivy to study and train
where all traces of wisdom are washed from each brain.
Once inspected and found to be empty inside,
every brain will be loaded with undeserved pride.
They will then get a palette containing a list
of long words that all end with a “-phobe” or an “-ist.”

Either suffix plus any new sex, creed, or race
makes a word to be used at the right time and place.
They’re then given a brush that’s uncommonly wide
that has bristles to which all their words are applied.
For a canvas, they use any privileged class,
which with one artful stroke, will get painted en masse.

Those with functioning brains largely sigh in despair;
they think broad-brush attacks on a group are unfair.
Broad Brush artists will say great art needn’t be true,
and besides, truth is based on one’s own point of view.
Once the paint is applied, though it never comes off,
it’s seen only by people whose brains are shut off.

Using logic on those who adore Broad Brush Art
will just ruin your day so it’s not very smart.
Though they speak very loudly, their numbers are small.
It is best if you never engage them at all.
All their venomous rants are completely unmoored,
as they screech just like nails when they scrape a chalkboard.

So, avoid cars with stickers that say “Coexist,”
since the driver is likely on their approved list
Most importantly, you must remain far away
from each Ivy-trained fool who just sees you as prey.
And ignore their opinions on art history,
they created this cult of Broad Brush lunacy.



Warren Bonham is a private equity investor who lives in Southlake, Texas.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

14 Responses

  1. Roy Eugene Peterson

    This is not only a great poem about modern lunacy, but it is transcendent in that it applies to all modern arts (painting, literature, poetry, and music) as well as leftist political behavior, thinking, speaking, and legislation). Highly prescient poem that drives a stake into the heart of modern movements.

    • Warren Bonham

      Thanks for the comments. I wish there were more people who see things like you do.

  2. Phil S. Rogers

    EXCEPTIONAL. So much truth in this poem, and so enjoyable to read.

  3. Margaret Coats

    Warren, this is a sophisticated satire painted in powerful anapests that keep the reader moving with the rhythm. I like it as an Ivy school graduate trained by the last generation of grand old scholars. I recall attending just one radical feminist lecture, by a guest professor from another institution, where I saw a ranking member of the English department walk out in disgust as if on his way to vomit. Even the undergraduates were able to demolish crazy arguments from a visitor at a seminar, with no help from the teacher. I was not aware that the university taught studio art in those days, so I looked up the current catalog to find out. Course titles are as amusing as your poem: “Painting a Doubt,” “Making Things, Breaking Thing,” etc. The numbers of Broad Brush artists may be small in relation to the general population, but they are so loud that arts of all kinds offer minimal enjoyment to human beings in search of beauty, truth, and goodness.

    • Warren Bonham

      Ouch. Things may be even worse than I thought. Thanks for supporting the sentiments with your real-world observations.

  4. C.B. Anderson

    This poem fairly bristles with insight, and I would like to read more of this sort of thing. Having written that, I still think that the “comes off/shut off” rhyme in the 4th stanza is a cop-out, and that your anapests could use a brush-up. Sometimes pessimism is just a brush-stroke away from realism.

    • Warren Bonham

      Thanks very much for the critique. Unfortunately, I just re-read the lines you referenced and agree that I could have done better. Here’s a set of potential replacement lines.

      Every brush stroke they make leaves a permanent stain,
      but it’s seen just by those who have emptied their brain.

      I’ll work to tighten up the rest as well.

  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    “Broad brush lunacy” indeed! Thank you, Warren, for these sane and spot-on poetic observations in a world gone mad… I am nodding in agreement.

  6. Warren Bonham

    I’m glad it hit home with you. It wasn’t that long ago that we were allowed to consider the content of an individual’s character. Now, we never seem to get beyond broad-brush generalizations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.