Dinner at Whistler’s

The interior, like a fresh, young face,
is a masterpiece of simplicity.

Traffic moves along straight lines
between what is said and what is done.

At the dinner table, even the menus
are painted to illustrate the feast.

Desire is a red plate.
Love is a black bowl.

It is ironic that his mother,
now an exhibit in Paris,

is surrounded by impressionists
and looks very sad.

Aesthetes imagine a blue square
is the most beautiful space.

Peacocks and all other flightless birds
no longer lay claim to parts of the sky.

The quarrel of art and money is over.
Needing each other, they kiss and make up.

The rooms we lived in, the meals we made,
the words we spoke, themselves all masterworks,

numbered, rotting, forgotten,
will no longer be the cause of any emotion.

A regret, like a tremor, wakes us.
He goes to piss against the wall.

I am the stranger here, in the room
made for blue and white porcelain.

This poem appeared first in Out of the Box: Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Poets, edited by Michael Farrell and Jill Jones, Puncher & Wattmann Poetry, 2009