Bob Bradshaw


My wife, Mary, sits on the steps
talking politics.  She smokes
a Cuban cigar.  My students
like her because she's a good
I shrug, and slip off
with a couple tubes
of paint.
I'll go hunker down
on a dune and try not
to screw up the Atlantic.

But my students follow me.
They fan out
with their stands.
I scold them, Set up somewhere else. 
They ignore me.
All right, go ahead, steal;
it's okay with me,
I say.  But don't go 
as far as Gauguin;
he would have picked
Bonnard's balls
if they hadn't
been tied

They think there are nails
waiting for them
in the National Gallery.
So I tell them,
Go home, get a job.
I can't help you.
You're mechanics:
all foreplay but no passion.

But they think I'm kidding.
Kids...they always think their future
is better than yours...they're
like groundskeepers for a cemetery.
It enrages me when Mary
passes out cigars to them.
puff on their cigars,
as dreamy as railroad men.
Their locomotive, they think,
is passing me

Location: Redwood City, California

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