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Thursday, August 27, 2020


by David Thoreen

Pere Borrell del Caso’s most famous work, "Escaping Criticism" (1874), uses trompe l'oeil to blur the boundary between real and fictitious space. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons via BBC).

after "Escaping Criticism"

Historians say it began in Pompeii,
with murals artfully deceiving the eye
into believing that beyond a wall lay
another room, or a garden and blue sky.

Dutch painters polished the ploy: a display
of totems owned by the powerful; often, a sly
reminder of death—the candle burned partway...
or there, at rest on the painted frame, a fly.

Pere Borrell del Caso’s barefoot boy will not stay
in his painting. Forget this gilt frame. Escape or die
trying. Enough posing. Why can’t he just play golf
or fillet a minion, parlay Kellyanne with her con of the day,
send Pence off to pray, pay somebody something to make it all go away?
Your pronunciation is fine:  T***p lie, T***p lie, T***p lie.

Editor's Note: 

David Thoreen teaches literature and writing at Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts.  His poems have appeared in Natural Bridge, Slate, Seneca Review, New Letters, TheNewVerse.News, and elsewhere.