Wednesday, November 13, 2019

That Gioconda Moment

The crowd of tourists facing
the Mona Lisa congeals
into a gray singularity.

I’ve never trusted that painting,
or Pater’s glib description,
which Yeats rewrote into verse.

The smile looks slightly manic,
the potato face seems rooted
in clammy earthen desires.

You expect me to worship
with those who look upon art
as the savior of their passions.

You want me to snap a selfie
with that fatuous smile askew
with a thousand old platitudes.

Look at the landscape looming
teary with mist behind her.
The trees look pubic, the streams

flowing through mythic places
one would rather read about
than visit while still in one’s skin.

That landscape is the part of her
Leonardo declined to paint
even to amuse her husband.

You know about such body parts,
and have cherished your own despite
the patina age has imposed.

The painting simmers with lust
that the lanky hairdo defies.
The wrinkled clothing is the shell

of the subject’s private self,
which you dare me to reveal
by blowing the portrait a kiss.

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