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The Cubism of War

All warfare is based on deception.
— Sun Tzu

Each trench left a story, frozen in time.
French trench, German trench, less American
trenches than those entrenched for much longer.

Yanks had “very neat” camouflage, she wrote.
Gertrude Stein said color and design, ways
they placed things, everything was different.
“It made plain the whole theory of art
and its inevitability,” Stein explained.

“We had heard of camouflage. Picasso
amazed looked at it and then cried out, yes
it is we who made it, that is cubism.”

“Anything new, anything worth doing,
can’t be recognized,” opined Picasso.
“People just don’t have that much vision.”

French, German, American camouflage—
all different doings, foreign foresight.

After the war, they went out and cleaned up
the mess of mines, gas canisters, butts of
cigarettes, bandages, clothes too warm or
cold, coffee mugs, love letters left unsent.
American poetess, safe in her wandering,
blood-stained French countryside beneath her.
Rummaging through war’s fabric, entrenched.

“There is only one valuable thing in art,”
said Georges Braque. “The thing you cannot explain.”


NBR8FlynnsmallOriginally from Denver, Brian Robert Flynn is currently breathing the fiction and poetry of Washington, DC. His work has appeared in LETTERS Journal, Litro, The Learned Pig, The Quotable, Rose Red Review, Banango Street, and The Moth.