Mother Burned The Paintings

Mother Burned the Paintings


Matisse, Picasso, Monet,

Gauguin, Lucian Freud,  

I stole them from the Kunsthal

In Rotterdam with its broken

Alarm system, which went off

Only on our way out.


Thank you, stupid Dutch curators!

It was so easy that I, a two-bit

Romanian crook, could do it 

In daylight and escape

Like an invisible man.

You were probably lecturing

On structuralism or some

Other horse shit while we were sneaking

Out the back door. You can call it

My performance de-installation.


But then, thanks to my stupid partner, 

They traced us back

To Carcaliu, my humble village

Near the Black Sea, so I

Gave them to my illiterate mother,

Who in desperation burned them

In her little bathroom stove.


Or perhaps she didn’t. This

Is my post-modern defense;

This version is just

One of several possible realities.

You’re familiar with string theory,

Of course? There may be a universe


Where the paintings still exist,

A universe right next door 

To this one, where birds

Can talk, and no one is burned

At the stake, and the paintings

Are still there, in the gallery,

And I am still an innocent man.