“At the Art Opening” by John Grey

No one is enlightening

this mass of all masses.

Everywhere I look,

the paintings are in a language

my inner voice can’t translate.

I feel as if my eyes are pushing 

a wheelbarrow up a rocky incline.

“Excuse me,” I say to whoever 

will listen.

“Why can’t art slow down a little?”

But the artist cannot wait,

doesn’t give a damn

about we paid-up members

of the wine-and-cheese brigade.

I’m staring at a canvas

of broken mirrors,

shredded faces.

I have to accept the fact

that whoever created this

knew what they were doing.

They have the education in cataclysm,

diplomas in megalomania.

I relate silently to them

between the jabbering heads,

how none of the work is this exhibition

does anything for me.

But they emerge from the crowd,

laughing silently,

the paint from their next work

already dripping down their hands.

Maybe teeth with wings this time.

Why not a nude with push-carts for breasts.

Why not a misplaced audience:

the wine madly splattered by a toilet plunger,

the cheese, a collage of blank faces.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

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