I took my son to see art.
Rather, to be honest, I took my son
to experience New York City.
Art was a side effect.
We felt small together in Times Square,
two meerkats craning upward
through layers of teeming humanity.
We threaded our bicycles between
joggers and strollers patrolling with
grim determination the graveled marches
of Central Park. Weaving and tinkling our bells,
we gave our best impression of the taxi drivers
from Somalia and Pakistan who, perhaps
missing the plea for tired and poor, heard
one instead for grumpy and impatient.
But our effect was negligible.
We struck the Lady of Liberty, astride her
well-crawled isle, with quartz-eyed stares
intent on extracting life-times
of accumulated significance
from a twenty-minute ferry ride included
in our Experience New York coupon book.
We will attest that the Mother of Exiles
still gazes across the ocean
to those teeming shores
where visa requests still stagnate.
Her lamp, however, was extinguished
due to threat of Terrorist Activity.
Included in our coupon book were a few tickets
for museums of art and botanical gardens.
Since the gardens appeared to be much farther
from the Guczi wallets we sought in Chinatown
("we" as a poetic allegory for "my son")
than the museums, we chose to enlighten our minds
rather than burden our feet.
We were transfixed by the serenity of Renoir,
startled by the proximity of Van Goh,
fascinated by the carved outriggers of New Guinea,
mesmerized by the tapestries of Verona,
confused by a pile of bricks.
A pile of bricks upon the floor.
A possibly delicately arranged or, more likely,
dumped pile of bricks around which
gazed an intently and determinedly absorbed
(small)crowd of Art appreciators drawing
(or projecting)their own significance from or upon
this pile of bricks. (Not dissimilar to multiple piles
we had encountered between here and Chinatown.)
After my own contemplative interval, I chided myself
for mistaking this Art for a pile of bricks, for
a pile of bricks which is Art can be
differentiated from the piles of bricks outside
by means of the attendant security detail
scrutinizing the (small)crowd to ensure
someone does not mistake this work of Art
for a pile of bricks.
And move one. For only an Artist should
move a brick which is Art.
As we sauntered away practicing the newly acquired airs
of Art connoisseurs, our brows were furrowed
by the gravity of the wide range of expertise
required to be an Artist in New York,
and a far greater appreciation for the skills required
to produce a Guczi wallet in Chinatown.
As we departed the realm of Art replicas,
we re-entered the vast gallery of performance art
sometimes known as New York City.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem