The Painting You Never Did & Then Never Did Again

Oh, the people will come, friend
they’ll bring their hangovers
& drive right through ‘em
like union men punching their tickets to stardom
Oh, the people will most definitely come
they’ll ask for chairs, they’ll say
how about height
oh, canvas, cover me
leave me manic twelve hours later
"Mon frer," you said,
                             "Art is in the doing:
         "Core one."
You were a crazy impatientist fool
from backintheday, Texas but
          I believe you
                    I want to, anyway
Friend, let me say
         I’m going to amass
one of the great art collections
of the twenty-third century
          It begins with your
and flies through mother-of-pearl woods on a nightstick cackling
Oh, yours is
          a great & important
work of art
          erupted from the cracked and chapped lips
of two laclede
          working men
high in the apartments
of a grey and brick city street
oh, the people will come, friend
they’ll come to my gallery
not knowing why
and they’ll pay to see the hands
          of men
          sick with whisky
but having
          the good sense
          to lay down paint and tape
                   a single strip of  tape
                    oh, genius!
          to boast to the canvas
          of loves they’ve known
                    purple women
                    the busted borders of night
                    seen despite winter’s mask
         their bright eyes burning like passion fruit cigarettes
                              orange beyond all else
oh, friend
         I am so decrepit in the midst
                    of my rejuvenation!
how is that?
         who was that Roman emperor?
Picasso once said
          If only I coulda gotten that gal’s
          legs open
                              art woulda popped out
your art, friend
          Do you believe him?
but we’re not famous yet &
          yet we’re not quite shuttered
                                                 we shudder
                    trying to stay warm in the attics
                   of unfinished houses
you know what started it all for me?
                    (the big bang!)
                    that painting of yours
the one you never did
& then never did again
do you remember?
              it hangs on my wall
                    and no one can see it
                    but you.

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