By: William Doreski
you can pluck a red poppy
fresh from a Monet landscape
or scoop a spoonful of ice cream
from a Woody Allen movie
about seducing adolescents.
You think this place is silly
with its three-D murals, odes
recited by Keats and Coleridge bots,
Laocoon’s serpent writhing
in a squirm of muscular coils,
Renoir nudes who roam among
the visitors with trays of drinks
and hors d’oeuvres. You worry
that art is lost in the novelty,
but consider how the innocent
regarded the first cave paintings,
flat yet dynamic depictions
of creatures they knew from life.
We wander through the galleries.
Gauguin invites us to stroke
his moustache, Jackson Pollack
flings paint in our faces, Mona
Lisa stops smiling and frowns.
We could wash our hands in green
water in a Canaletto scene,
but the Venice lagoon is fouled
with runoff from industrial art
by Charles Sheeler, whose smokestacks
cough real smoke into our lungs.
In the last gallery a Rothko looms
in brilliant yellow and gloomy red.
Without thinking we step inside it
and begin exchanging colors
we hadn’t known we possessed,
the painter’s suicidal grimace
neutered by our newfound joy.
William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught at Emerson College, Goddard College, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent books are Water Music and Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston.