Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bulletin's Clock

When the fool made a joke at midnight, dialled a humour field leaden,
Lessors of bunkers and leaders amenable to Armageddon
Were ensconced among the paintings of angels on pendentives and domes.
Lower-income families unable to afford the rent on their homes
Were the butt of the joke; its teller, a wag, made capital of art,
Invested, irradiated, and soon the artists would perforce part

From the districts they had made vibrant, Bed-Stuy and Mitte and Hackney.

Felt beneath the bedstead protects a walnut floor; and by irony
And ionising design, a painting, created here when this space
Was still a studio, since bought by a bourgeois who would replace
The painter as tenant, is now mounted above the bed with its frame
Oriented to accentuate the floorboards' grain, not to declaim
Against the joke at midnight, but with neat, anodyne irony
To post-exist. The lacing-stain of paint that seeded itself wildly
On the old chipboard floor is gone, but a presence loath to disconnect
Will stay, the artist's impulse, a domovoi, taking on the aspect
Of the tenant-dilettante, greis, greis, yet keening an imperative
Dissonant from its alike: "When the fool makes a joke at midnight, live,
Do not forbear to live."

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

In My Family’s Midst

In my family’s midst, the wag isolates me. He jokes, says that he fears his daughter has inherited my mother's ugly genes, that my seven-year-old son looks like President Putin, and calls teasingly, “Hey, Vladimir,” in the direction of the boy playing on the floor with his car track. My son, not conversant with heads of state, lines up cars on the starting gate, unaware that he is being addressed, mocked; my objecting vociferously would compromise that, and so I say nothing.