Appropriately Mislabeled

Playfully, he considered
himself a forger.
With a hand free
of contemplation,
like a baton’s crescendo,
he painted

as a head: Goliath
in the hands
of a self-portrait by Giorgone;

An embarrassing re-creation
of his brother’s fiancee
as Venus, in the style
of Rubens; and

A Baconesque portrayal
of himself
turned inside out and rather bloody.

Nothing was a copy, although
each of the styles
was reproduced to perfection.
“I like what is past,” he said.
“Bach, Phidias, the great figures of the Renaissance
make me kvel with delight.”
He felt no need to be original,
noted how openly
Baroque masters lifted substantial
components of each other’s concertos.

And so it went. He pursued his gift:
kind of quiet, reclusive, singular..
He was honest. At very least he was honest.

But after he died, I encountered
in a midtown gallery,
appropriately mislabeled
but happily, with
a “questionable” attribution.

Well, he would have laughed
had he seen this, but
not at those prices.
At that he could have cried, ” were it
My name, they would pay me nothing. Nothing”
Such has always been the lamentation
of genius:
Boltzman hung from his rafter;
Rembrandt in Chapter Eleven.