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.
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.