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