nthposition online magazine

The woman who walks in the museum, Times of the year & The good matador


[ poetry - january 07 ]

The woman who walks in the museum

The woman who walks in the museum
Cannot address the Apollo Belvedere
They cannot exchange a casual word or two
As she passes through the alcove

Has she been on friendly terms
With genitals etched by napalm
Has she seen pus drip from the corner
Of a faded picture frame

Is she at odds with Raphael's Madonna
Whose pink nipples are raw and angry
As if that cherubic infant
Had gnawed all night in vain

Has she made more than a nod in the direction
Of Goya's firing squad
Has she held more than a casual conversation
With the headless torsos of Austerlitz
The stray limbs that litter
The beach at Gallipoli

The woman who walks in the museum
Speaks only to El Greco
She scales white walls
Steps into gilded frames
That house the Guernica
Breugel's devil
Durer's death
And their knights.


Times of the year

There are times of the year
One comes to dread
The end of the semester
When red ink bleeds
On blue books
Awaiting absentee owners

The last evening of the holiday
Husbands prepare for Monday's skirmish
Socks are sorted
Shirts are pressed
Armed with an attaché
He'll charge via telex and committee

There are times of the year
When the customary answer
Crumbles in the hand
When a tablet dissolves
At 4 AM
In a cracked glass.


The good matador

At his funeral their friends said
She played the perfect wife
Like a middle-aged virtuoso
But we were family and we knew
Veronica was more than
A bit player or a walk-on
She knew when to face the bull
At the instant when he'd paw
The furrows in their ring and lower
His head for the charge she'd start
Waving the cape, ever so slowly,
Unfolding the failures, one by one
She'd spread them before him
One at a time, ever so slowly,
Till he greeted the sword with relief.