Kenneth Fearing

Art Review

Recently displayed at the Times square Station, a new
         Vandyke on the face-cream girl.
(Artist unknown. Has promise, but lacks the brilliance shown
         by the great masters of the Elevated age)
The latest wood carving in a Whelan telephone booth, titled
        "O Mortal Fools WA 9-5090," shows two winged
        hearts above an ace of spades.
(His meaning is not entirely clear, but this man will go far)
A charcoal nude in the rear of Flatbush Ahearn's Bar & Grill,
         "Forward to the Brotherhood of Man," has been boldly
         conceived in the great tradition.
(We need more, much more of this)
Then there is the chalk portrait, on the walls of a waterfront
         warehouse, of a gentleman wearing a derby hat:
         "Bleecker Street Mike is a doublecrossing rat."
(Morbid, but powerful. Don't miss)

Know then by these presents, know all men by these signs
         and omens, by these simple thumbprints on the throat
         of time,
Know that Pete, the people's artist, is ever watchful,
That Tuxedo Jim has passed among us, and was much
        displeased, as always,
That George the Ghost (no man has ever seen him) and Billy
        the Bicep boy will neither bend nor break,
That Mr. Harkness of Sunnyside still hopes for the best, and
        has not lost his human touch,
That Phantom Phil, the master of them all, has come and
        gone, but will return, and all is well.

***The poem is from Kenneth Fearing Complete Poems. (Ed. Robert M. Ryley. Orono: The National Poetry Foundation and Maine UP, 1994.  p. 222)
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission of the National Poetry Foundation, 2002