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The Museum of Fine Arts

 

All the kingís horses pull overtime,

unwatered at the martyrdom.

 

Demons serve as ladders to humans.

We use them to ascend.

 

Thomas Aquinas has had it to here

with his visions nagging feed us, change us.

 

An avenging angel takes out the trash,

a severed head with shattered veins

 

suspended in transparent cube,

eyes grasping at heaven. Heaven

 

as transparent cube or the lewd aspect of

a baroque diptych: Fat Boy with Senor Dracula,

 

duck-lipped, hips cocked

in the Hall of the Beautiful Prince,

 

whose holy gaze of wisdom guards us everywhere.

The head doctor, having traveled for weeks

 

by horse, is not impressed

by Jose de Riberaís robes or glazed goatee

 

wagging at the Whore of Domecq,

so she rests a minute in her habit of black hair

 

before a ceramic bust of the sorceress.

No rest no peace for cavalcade of penitents:

 

aggressively stylized, obsessed with the authentic.

Crucifix as selfie-stick: you see yourself in it.

 

You toil and are bisected under the dim arc of the cello,

sala of humble and most modest penes,

 

cloister of wooden rails built with great skill

by anonymous, tired workers

 

at supreme personal sacrifice.

You get the idea.

 

To Be in the Museo full of ideas

is to be an avenging angel,

 

a friar lowered by natives from his dinghy.

Thank you, padre, for this agua. This vodka.

 

Finally the heathen city burns

away oppressive sky,

 

no sky visible in these photos,

no foto of your own

 

ghoulish devotion to

the prophesied child, crowned with horns

 

like a Cadillac or the otherwise luminous

skull of a saint, suffering deathless aura.

 

Like a slave, saint:

make with the manna already.

 

Already the highwaymen,

city of their final reward in sight,

 

rest in the Cave of the Cat,

watering their pilfered horses in its poison lagoon.

 

Already these souls in hellís panorama

howl into whatever lies beyond

 

an eternal mise en scene

that does not affirm us

 

in the way we thought

it would affirm us.

James Capozzi

James Capozzi
is an†Assistant Professor of English at County College of Morris in New Jersey. He is the author of several books, including 89 Screenplays for Nightmare City, Universal Description of the Known World Without End and Country Album. His poetry has been published in more than 50 literary journals, and he is currently the associate editor of the Journal of New Jersey Poets and consulting editor for The Virginia Normal. He previously taught at Binghamton University, the University of Texas at Austin, Virginia State University and Bloomfield College.