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.