Washington DC, 2011

The long escalator from the Metro underworld
of massive Piranesian tubes, ejects me upward into
the grey, light showery day, and the wide National Mall.
I walk, away from the Capital,  massive federal buildings on either side
like fortifications, defending themselves,  no longer public,.
and grand Museums, Art, Nature ,and Space for the people,
I walk past the grim WWII monument, a felangistic plaza
black bronze Roman wreaths on towers.

I escape, trudge on.
A black granite V penetrates the earth,
carries names of men thrown away,
plunges into the sodden surface,
blood splattered Vietnam fields.
Black granite walls, scattered flowers
umbrellas, glistening pavement,
glistening, crying black walls.

I flee to the small,
to the Phillips gallery to find  relief.
.          Bonnard’s brilliant green violet mixtures
.          Renoir’s boating party, Van Gogh, Cezanne,-
go smaller to a dark music room, rare De Stael’s,
suited diplomats from Slavic lands
large women, reserved seats.
A quartet plays Beethoven (Raz 3)
and a quiet wistful modern.

Kent Bowker    May17, 2011

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