The one-time bag man, skinny
bag-of-bones man, barterer
of stones & stone-aged man
leans back against a packing crate
& laughs. BECOME an artist?
Hell, I AM one! What they mean
is, I should make money at it —
be like them. Mustache twitches.
A figure of fun, a harmless homebody
nobody minds. Pointed fingernails
sweep sideways in a wave.
And I’ve decided to go along with it,
just to prove a point.
Yellow teeth glisten in a coyote grin.
The clay pipe passes back & forth
& the whole attic hunkers down
to gnaw its gristle: cans of quart
crystals sorted by size & color,
boxes ammed with squares of gold
& silver foil from cigarette packs,
a shelf of empty one-shot
whiskey flasks, broken lamps
& chipped porcelain trash-picked
from suburban curbsides — literal
yuppie scum — plus
the inevitable flotsam from ten years’
service in the Merchant Marine.
Some lore more occult than the Kabbalah
imposes it madness on the method
of this assemblage — makes my host
seem less a prestidigitator than
an honest-to-god magician.
Palms up, he invokes the Angel
of Unreproducible Results, bids me
take another look: Nothing here
is accidental. This is my art.