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Friday, September 26, 2008

For "Stag at Sharkey's"

Well, Danielle and I have made it to Cleveland and we are both looking, in earnest, for decent work, which is hard to come by here in Cleveland it seems.
Today, though I found a lead on a management position at the Cleveland MFA - retail sales. Hey, everybody needs their "Starry Starry Night" repro.
In any event, I got to look around at the collection, at least the part of it available to view (the museum is undergoing extensive renovations and as a result only one wing is open to the public.)
I like the feel of museums and think I would like to work in one, even as a retail clerk. I mean, at least I'd have cool stuff to hang out with on lunch breaks.
A good deal of the work I saw today was 19th and early 20th century American paintings. All of them interesting and fresh to me (I've been to the Boston MFA so many times that I forget there are other collections out there.) One in particular struck me so much that I decided to write down my thoughts in a poem. Here it is, an ode to George Bellows' "Stag at Sharkey's."



For Stag at Sharkey's

Another restaurant and I'm
in Ohio's world again, but
this time it's nickels and dimes and
pennies from ashtrays that I'm
hunting. Oh, Mother says
we can hunker down at
her and Father's compound if
things get too bad. And I'm sure we
could. Fifteen bedrooms and
an acre of green grass out back and
we could easily turn the fourth, fifth
and sixth garages into chicken coops.
But, what did I learn all of these things
for? The people of
the FSA, gaunt and deteriorated, clear-eyed
and dirty, flat and wasted, on their iron and straw
beds with their shaving bowls and straw brooms.
They're gone.
And I went to see Stag at Sharkey's
today and understood the painting, I think, and
saw in it the future of the form and its demise. I
think this may be the greatest moment of my life,
looking at this oil, and laugh to think I may think such
a thing. Where would we get chickens from, anyway?
Does anybody know that, something like that?
We can get tomatoes, for sure, but...

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