Monday, February 20, 2017

"muse at the museum"

"muse at the museum"
written after an afternoon of paintings and conversation by jake kilroy.

broken neck swinging
like my head's garbage lit,
which ain't far off;
been out to sea in the exhibit,
drowning in a symphony swell,
panic swimming through a crowd,
each having brought an opinion as a plus one.
grace in a silhouette floating through,
the crowd buckling without knowing why,
and here i am, spinning and cutting,
trying to be front page news;
but a college degree and a handful of trips
ain't enough to sweep spirit off its feet.

i came here to roll my tongue,
not weave it into a mouth,
but at least my shirt buttons up,
so i got a chance to buy time
though i won't spend it well.
she's in one eye and out the other,
as i try to remember what little i knew
about magritte so i don't default to
"this is not a pick-up line."

if art has gods and goddesses,
for isn't that why we do anything -
for the lord of media praise,
for the queen of group of love -
then they're draped over each other
laughing and yelling obscenities
at this poor schmuck of a writer
who's never used self-deprecation
for anything more than small talk.
how much can a man take
if he never gives himself credit?

shoulders round by pedestrians,
as i can't keep a steady hand on the present,
coming up for air amid stuffy dialogue
about when the modern era started,
but the shine doesn't die in the distance;
it only glitters a little less.

when she finally stops in front of a film
about picasso and rivera,
about 'guernica' and 'pan american unity'
is where i catch my breath and lose it immediately.
i adjust my hair in the shine of a vase
from a century of violent empire
and look deep into the eyes of a farmer
made of oil paint and romanticism.

when her hair sweeps by,
i catch the wind
and i'm faced with the future -
the lust, the love, the heartbreak, the return.
where has this music been,
hidden away in the curvy figure
of a human i debate undressing
before i can even remember my own name?

our eyes lock like firing squads
with matching assignments.
mine are using muskets,
heres are using tanks,
and i feel naked breaths
gleefully sunbathing in my lungs.
i'm fresh out of mania,
i've lived too long as a wreck,
my art is forfeit without truth,
and i could go home tonight
to write the masterpiece
if only this one was in my bed
in the other room, reading
and periodically asking
when i'd be done with it
so we could make love.
i could have this life.
i could be this man.
i could die the hero.
i could be a name
in the end.

she says hello
and i realize all we've ever done is build women into the impossible.

the truth strangles itself out of me,
a snake looking for a home
that's less of a sham.
we only have muses to buy time.
we exaggerate women to be alone.
we can't tell if these wounds
we go on and on about
are martyr minimums
or friendly fire.

in the museum,
where all the muses live
where all the artists died,
the only thing that matters
is that you can go home
at the end of the day.

nobody earns a name
by overstaying their welcome.
they find their work on the wall
because somebody else put it there.
even with an army of muses,
you have to be the one to end the war.

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