Recruitment in The Northwest Gallery Tonight
calls me in for more
blasts and clouds of smoke.
mark their road back home.
A ghostly form appears;
its glowing core illuminates
the dead then disappears…
This landscape draws me in
From in this gilded frame
the screams of war blow out!
in this corridor are hard to bear.
And there again!—that hungry
voice! “Your home is here…
my boy, with us…”
Another shouts to charge ahead
beneath red roars of cannons set
by demons laughing in the rear!
Tonight, this painting claws at me
Why? They know I stand here day to night
within this hall—have learned to
breathe in air that smells of gutted deer—
that I am close enough.
I will wait here.
“Oh no. We need meet nose-to-nose young naked slave. This
is your home. You must leave that wooden floor and pedestal;
lay down that shield and spear. You are a fixture there, archaic,
obsolete, an hour from replacement, reduced to prey. Find
here instead the weaponry the grandest wars are made of; in us
you have the greatest force on earth; we know the enemy on sight—
we strike first! Would we ask you otherwise to join us? Trust us.
You are a servant there. We are men for men; we will arm you,
let you hunt again—give you a reason for breathing—majesty!
Join us. Serve!”
First Draft, March 21, 2017