Museums (Frame This)
We took my daughter to see prehistoric wonders.
She wasn’t disappointed but
adjusted to the lack of flesh.
I considered spirit presence
since this was a graveyard of sorts
or did they remain at the grounds of demise,
where Neanderthals sucked bone marrow
after those at the apex of the food chain
slept with full belly contentment,
after gorging on dino flesh ripped away
with the cutlery appendages of claw and teeth.
I realized this was a place
where one could do the worst deed they could.
An evil so vile it should only be hummed.
Nothing as commonplace as rape or murder,
but graffiti. Messing the place up.
Desecration on a sacrilege level,
greater than in a church or synagogue.
Spray paint a blue-grey star on a maxilla
or a leprechaun on a neural arch.
Loot a few links of osseous tissue
to place under my seat cushion
to take myself to another era,
pre ancient text of genesis, torah and koran.
If I swallowed artwork like Bierstadt’s “Lander’s Peak,”
to feel the abstract sublime infuse
the lumbering ardor of my typing,
this act would have me reviled nationwide in newspapers,
repeated every fifteen minutes on highlight news,
and perhaps painful legal analysis,
leaving elliptical jockeys in the gym cursing
the assumed failing of viewers to fill the ellipsis.
The knock is that Americans don’t value art.
Liars! A museum is the modern sacred temple where
thou shall not desecrate, sell wares, spread false witness, etc.
This poem is a scream for more public funding of art.
Start small. Dip a claw in a desiccated lagoon
and frame this poem.
Place it in a darkened hallway beneath a
Rothko with a hard assessment of klieg lights
and watch them mob.
Paul Handley has poems included or forthcoming in publications such as 13th Warrior Review, Anemone Sidecar, Halfway Down the Stairs, Pig in a Poke and The Smoking Poet.