Mike Tries to Paint (Homage to O'Hara)
I make a sardine-shaped indent
onto the knitted strands that stitch me one piece
It needed something there, Mike tells the poet
he has worn-out hands and an elusive gaze.
No - lies - I am much more than that!
I scream, but the fabric is nailed onto wood
too tightly to rip out.
Canvas is 5.95 an inch, the economy booms,
and painters and writers - as always, Mike interjects - do not get paid.
A dollop of harmless crimson drips onto his already stained jeans.
“Don’t waste your breath,” a voice
muffled and bored,
from where the poet stands.
“You are the traditional space holder.”
A little notebook peeks out from the pocket
of his somber coat, slightly damp with the rain.
Its pages are dog-eared,
loved and tortured.
Then the poet turns and
leaves from the door he came
taking ORANGES with him,
wet bootprints on cheap hardwood.
I think of ORANGES,
what its pages must say, if those worn-out hands write
with a destructive hate against
the fragments of the world.
Then I am left alone again with Mike
in the New York apartment.
Until the day he takes a brush loaded
with a deadly crimson, and cuts
through my gills, I fall off the canvas,
my tail a bit farther, flopping on the now dry wood.
Tomorrow he repairs the cut canvas with a combination
Of the newly found love for the non-image,
Art nouveau and letters.
The notebook peeks out and grins
at my stitches broken through, blood on my gills
staining the already abused wood.
The canvas is 5.95 an inch, this one,
like The Burial of my kin in Madrid*,
millions an inch and gasps of awe.
* Francisco Goya’s painting ‘The Burial of the Sardine’ now can be seen in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid.