THE MORTUARY OF ART

 

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; hopeless, transitory, bleak –

Discouraging an Artemisia,

 

Poking in and out, uncertain of her catalogue.

She reasons, there can be no fear

Worse than that my visions, scenes, designs

May end up here; pushed up against

 

The next poor daub in a stack. Give or take

A generation, several shifts of taste, the vagary

And sheer caprice of fashion may oblige the work

To undergo 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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