Sunday, November 24, 2013

Five Thoughts I Had at The Museum.

Five Thoughts I Had at The Museum
by james bezerra

I find a wide dim room of medieval
illuminated manuscripts, so called.
Each one illuminated too by a single lamp,
looking then like beacons
glowing through a dark age.

One must remember that oil money
bought all this history here and built
these buildings around it too.

Millenias’ old black liquid dinosaurs
without which there would be fewer
fortunes in the world. Nor any of these buildings.
Nor this strange city that spreads like strawberry runners
rendered in bituminous pitch through the natural canyons in the hills.

An episode from the Getty family history:
In 1973 a grandson kidnapped in Italy.
A seventeen million dollar ransom refused.
An ear arrives in the mail.
Demand drops to $3.2 mil.
Getty again defers. Decrees: $2.2 only,
the max that’s tax deductible. The IRS
has rules about these things, after all.

All this beauty bought by business.
All this art afforded by oil.
Dead painters had patrons.
Who are the patrons now,
while painters starve? And so
do the rest of us. How much
money at the top, can our
skinny poor shoulders prop up?
At least they give us these beautiful
places and we’re placated.

Manuscript parchment was made from animal skins.
Skins soaked in lime water to loosen hair and flesh.
Then stretched and scraped and stretched and cut.
These glittering old books once breathed.


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