ISSUE 1: SUMMER 2015 / POETRY

“Learning from Picasso”

BY WILLIAM DORESKI

You’re curating late Picasso
at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Because the paintings masticate
their subjects to pulpy shards
you’ve inspired yourself to replace
your teeth with plastic, ceramic,
or possibly stainless steel.

The show opens with slop and slur
of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Thick
and arrogant with power, donors
pose for Globe photographers
while the aesthetes like me wring
our hands and hang out as far
from the bar as possible. You stride

among the elite like police
on the beat. They haven’t heard
your plan to replace your smile
with the most frightening dentures
you can find. But you believe
in art, not nature, and art speaks
the language of money, the one

global tongue. The thick people
crowd the bar, guzzling drinks
too volatile for people like me
to handle without fracturing
along predictable fault lines.
They all sport custom dental work
in the Carpenter Gothic style.

You want them to vomit dollars
right there on the marble tile.
underwriting future exhibits
Your hairdo bobs on the swells
as you cross the room to shake
my hand and hope I’ve enjoyed
the liquor and snacks. Your smile,

even with your familiar old teeth,
is a death trap. Once you shark yourself
with artificial choppers you’ll ingest,
by default, everything around you,
learning from Picasso how
to render any subject foolish
for the sake of a higher cause.

William Doreski has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).

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