(Apologies to all francophone and hispanohablante readers; English only this time.)
Just before the Mets’ season ended
(another poem about art)
A powerful, powerful art gallery
Organized a program on the power of art critics,
Who, as a rule, are enthusiastically manipulated
To help advance the interests of powerful art galleries
And museums, rich collectors and so forth.
Lots of critics and occasional writers of one sort or another
Showed up at the gallery to try to find out
How powerful they were,
And this notwithstanding their feeling – in their bones, I imagine –
That they were not powerful at all.
And I was reminded of people who model
In the hopes that artists or photographers
Can find something of interest which they themselves cannot find –
Peering into mirrors at their faces and naked bodies,
Wondering what, if anything, might be deeper inside.
To help the critics understand how powerful they were,
In order to attend the program they had to wait in a line outside the gallery,
And a young man with a computer checked their names off on a list.
Since at that moment the Mets still had a mathematical chance of getting into the playoffs,
I used what was left of my power to bicycle home, lie on my floor, watch television.
— Poem(s) and gouache by William Eaton. Gouache is from a Milton Greene photo of Marilyn Monroe Black Sitting, 1956). For more on the event: POWER/CULTURE Part One: The Power of the Critic.