Bruce Bond


after Picasso

From a studio apartment, downtown,
across the rise and fall of monuments

and fortune, you just might see a ball
come crashing through an old façade

and think, what better place to hang
a portrait, and what better art than this:

this girl and her mandolin, her abstract
flesh pulling at the manhole, her hand

gloved in the hand from another point
of view, her figure, as the painter saw her,

heard her, broke her into orphaned
bolts and pieces, a girl exhumed, plotted,

diagramed, scored to the ashen drone
of trucks that feed the warehouse district,

where painters pitch their lofts and work
among the toxins.  Eyesores of the new

dark age, they need us to redeem them,
as desire needs its dissonance to fade

and fading needs its music and mallets
need a good job to beat their fractured

measures through the alley. Call them
instrumental then, each deafening ping

a world apart, a world, and thus, a part,
so when the past collapses at your door,

you will not turn away. You will hear
the chime of random metal in the drawer

you closed long ago, when you were small
and progress was a glorious colossus,

when every blackened engine was an angel,
and with a little care, it hummed. It sang.

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty books including, most recently, Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), and Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018). Three books are forthcoming: Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse Press), Scar (Etruscan Press), and Words Written Against the Walls of the City (LSU.) Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.