Breakfast Cereals, Picasso, and a Sexual Snap
Liz Gallagher

I want to write about breakfast cereals
since they determine the type of person we become.
Rice Krispies: snap, crackle and pop—I loved the tiny boxes they came in.
Cornflakes: heaped with sugar, neither wet nor soft but ultra crispy.
Truthfully, though, neither fully took off in our house.

I decide to skip cereals from today’s writing. How about Picasso?

Wow, at 12 he was maybe a dosser at school.
An early sexual snap was when he jotted down
a sketch of a donkey mounting a she-ass
in the margins of his copy book. Cool!

I wonder how his teacher reacted. “Picasso, to the corner,
knees on sugar and rip up that filth.”

OK, this is decidedly better than breakfast cereals, I’ll keep going.

He had a studio in the Barrio Xino, frequented cabarets.
Mixed with sailors, beggars and whores.
On the same street these days, vendors sell
large animals trapped in small cages.

I wonder if Picasso ate much breakfast cereal.

I bet he feasted on raw garlic
tightly rubbed onto the soft white insides of a baguette.
A tomato clasped by a curved hand would then be furiously squeezed and smeared over the bread until it ran red
with juice and sticky, stray pips.

He is in his nineties, days before his death,
and sketching: “dislocated and pathetic visions of the female sex.”
He had the “libido of seeing” (Jean Clair).

If childhood teachers don’t react badly to copulating donkeys,
breakfast can make you who you are,
regardless of cereal content.