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Triptych – Life, Art, Death



From the window of an elevated train I scout North Philadelphia. Topless bars. Beer and shot bars. “Police” equipment: handguns, rifles, shotguns. 99 cent stores. Pawn shops. Guys congregating on corners drinking beer.

I wander a neighborhood at random. The consolidated library is empty and forlorn. The cashiers in the convenience stores count pennies and dollars behind inch-thick Plexiglas. I see no neighborhood-saving murals. Is this Philadelphia unredeemed?

5th and Cecil B. Moore in North Philadelphia
5th and Cecil B. Moore in North Philadelphia

It is Sunday morning and in Dunkin Donuts three overweight white lowlifes confer. The man embarks on some mission and leaves his two females. A dad and his son enter. One lowlife must talk loudly to the little boy. The other nods and starts slowly to bend in that alarming, impossible manner of the serious addict — freed utterly from each and every last law, even that of the spine.


Ray Johnson's art
Ray Johnson’s art

The pianist, painter and poet are of three natures, utterly distinct. The poet speaks for the painter. The painter sees but what he sees he just can’t say. The art world has its own rules. A painter can abide by these laws and sometimes succeed, or he can defy them and certainly fail. Poets talk but money drives the art world. A distant pianist plays a fast blues.

3. ADIEUX, an indiscreet elegy

David Bourdon's book, Warhol
David Bourdon’s book, Warhol

You fibbed about your schooling. To me,
You told one truth, and thus
When you started seriously dying
You kept me away from your old
Friends. They had not heard, that you
Quit high school to be a copyboy
At the Herald-Tribune. But I found no
Byline, though you told
Stories of Clay Felker. You wrote about art
But lived, you implied, dealing
Art at Christie’s, staked first by
Gratuities from grateful artists.

It As It, collaborative chapbook with words by Michael Andre and drawings by Brian Beczak
It As It, collaborative chapbook with words by Michael Andre and drawings by Brian Buczak

You didn’t leave a literary executor.
A newspaperman in my
Family decided when he died
His words too must rest
And trouble no one again.
Words, this poem for instance, must
Perish.  You were my friend.
You are my friend, a non-practicing
Homosexual.  Hate the dead
Refute what the bitter heart says.
Adieux to an art world.  I hate Brian Buczak
And Ray Johnson and you,
David Bourdon, for dying.

Feast of St Blaise