Three poems by Terri Brown-Davidson

Tony Romeo’s Rose Period at the Fair

In Ayn Rand’s hierarchy, geniuses prevail.

There’s never a second ranking, back-up men talented enough

To paint for pittances, stub cigarettes out on their shoes.

Availing myself of sport, I meandered the midway

Of the Clowson County Fair. Cotton candy, club-sized

Turkey legs dripping grease from shiny lips,

The Tilt-a-Whirl plummeting

And, seated on a crate, Antonio Masachio Romeo III,

His eyes riveted into their near-lidless gaze,

Rosacea pocking his flattened boxer’s nose,

Magenta abstractions--smeared impasto gobs--

Lined up against the fence for five bucks apiece.

Tony muttered and dozed; passing children laughed

At his magnum opi. Yet, there was something

Roiling beneath the heaped-up oil surfaces:

A mind hot-wired for seconds before implosion.

Orgasmic white lights of succulent kitsch.

Mouthing words I couldn’t catch,

The roller coaster rattling, a fat kid

Shouted “fuck.” I gave Tony ten bucks

For a painting I admired; smiling, slurring

His words, he loaded it onto my truck.

I took it home and hung it on my wall.

Pink dollops, fractured faces, obliterated figures

Wailing from the depths of hell

In their Stanley Kowalski slouches.

Tony Romeo’s Opus

When he died, they tossed all his paintings out;

The carnival moved on to the next sleazy city,

Trailers’ tin-can sides winking under sun.

Like crusty old elephants they lumbered past.

In weeds springing up around me