To wander through this mortuary of art

Underneath a flyover at Clignancourt

Is sad not solemn – unlike Père Lachaise –

For this is where the unmemorable makes its unsung exit.


Bland landscapes on hardboard, lifeless drawings

From life, natures mortes that never grew

Or ever drew a breath. Portraits of abusive uncles

And unfeeling aunts: images nobody wants,


Stacked at your feet. Stepping back on a frame,

The only way you’ll pay for it. Art

That declines eternity, helpless daubs, transitory,

Unremarkable, bleak; and so depressing for the genius


Browsing in and out, uncertain of his catalogue.

He reasons, there can be no fear

Worse than that my visions, scenes, designs

May end up here; crushed against


The next poor corpse in a stack. Give or take

A generation, several shifts of taste, the vagary

And sheer caprice of fashion may well lead the work

To experience a meagre spell in purgatory,


Among old lamps, used pipes and chandeliers,

Before the dealer’s annual clear-out

Shoves it in the winter stove to crinkle

Rather than flare in the last oblivion of fire.


About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
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