The squeal of the dump trucks
backing up—another tower rising

above the slate rooftops (balky,
brutish, sub–Mies van der Rohe)—

were cries of dying pigs.
The sun smoldered again,

lifting its head above the horizon
only to be wreathed in cloud,

beset like a perfectly good knock-off,
seen a thousand times, of some

Baroque fantasia of foreshortened
gods, their feet trailing over

cloud edge, putti swarming about
like mosquitoes, the whole wrapped—

no, enveloped—in a frame plastered
with beading, rosettes, gadroons

gilded to the life if nothing else.
The gods, occupied with gossip

and quarrel, with a little hanky-panky
thrown in for measure,

never looked below,
for what apology does art promise

beyond the nakedness of art
or gods, for that matter?

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 36 Number 6, on page 30
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