Poetry / September 2012 (Issue 18)

Black Theft (Wu Zei)

by Joshua Burns

after an installation by Huang Yong Ping

Bulbous head, uvula of the room
you press Prince Albert the 1st.

Red but not ill, glowing but covered,
your tentacles have ways with columns.

Baby strollers have nothing to fear from you.
How could an art thief tend when you came out

wrong side up? Deep seated as any billowing king,
oceanographic blend of cuttle and octo.

I have an egg that changes color too.
Perhaps our camouflaging hybrid breed can flag down

the roaring fire in my limbs. I cannot even keep
track of where my arms have been. Strangled pigeons

in the park while you seemed to fly over me.
O great otherworldly denizen, landlocked but not leg locked,

twirl in the ballroom of thought, not simply a concept.
Not simply oil. A smokescreen. A flagrant blow-over.

You signal a coming storm, another animal that your artist hikes up.
How many more will have to stand on his poles? You without legs.

What am I to carry you out on?
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