for THE AMAZING Penny Arcade
(this exercise's poems are a chapbook from MONDO BUMMER)
(the photo of Penny by Jasmine Hirst)
There must be a piece of art near where you live that you enjoy, even LOVE! A piece of art that IF THERE WAS WAR you would steal it and hide it in your little apartment. I'm going to PACK my apartment TO THE ROOF when war comes! This exercise needs 7 days, but not 7 consecutive days as most museums and galleries are not open 7 days a week. At the Philadelphia Museum of Art hangs the Mark Rothko "Orange, Red and Yellow, 1961," a painting I would marry and cherish in sickness and in health, have its little Rothko babies, hang them on the wall with their father, and a portrait of my breasts to feed them at any hour. For 7 days I sat with my dearest Rothko. The security guards will think you're odd when you come for 7 days to sit and meditate. Never mind that, bribe them with candy, cigarettes or soda, whatever it takes to be left in peace. Bring binoculars because you will get closer to the painting than anyone else in the room! Feel free to fall in love with what you see, you're a poet, you're writing a poem, go ahead and fall in love! Feel free to go to the museum restroom and touch yourself in the stall, you may not be allowed to touch the paintings but they can't stop you from touching yourself, fantasizing touching and being touched by them. And be sure to write on the restroom wall that you were there and what you were doing as everyone enjoys a dedication to the details in museums. And be certain to leave your number, you never know what other art lover will be reading. When you return REMEMBER THAT there is no museum in the world with rules against the use of binoculars, information you may need for the guards if you run out of cigarettes and candy. Map your 7 days with extravagant enhancements: mint leaves to suck, chocolate liqueurs, cotton balls between your toes, firm-fitting satin underwear, things you can rock-out with (in secret) for the art you love. Take notes, there must be a concentration in note-taking in your pleasure-making. Never mind how horrifying your notes may become, horror and pleasure have an illogical mix when you touch yourself for art. Once you gather your 7 days of notes together you will see the poem waiting to be pulled out of a long and energizing dream.