Christopher Michael, gay, gay poetry



Renaissance and Religion

what is there to be said about a journey through a museum?
a sojourn of centuries and diverse beliefs, thoughts, feelings
interpreted by men (mostly) of faith (perhaps) and
frequently, in the name of one god or another…
as much as I do not believe in those gods, except
perhaps Athena, or the lower deity Pan, I am always
shaken to my foundation by Renaissance art

does this obscure and confuse lack of belief?
no, belief is as separate as the individual, each
artist’s interpretation of the Annunciation, the Crucifixion
the resurrection, the birth of Christ, all works
meant to adorn the homes of the devout, to fill
walls and ceilings with the message of religion
the Bible turned visual, as was the intent,
to inspire, to teach to assure the ignorant masses
this is their god and this is how he looks…

thus is raised a topic of confusion: a man, a Jew, born
several thousand years ago in an arid desert in
the Middle East, a man whose features were most likely
swarthy, dark, with olive skin and chestnut hair,
becomes in Italy blond and delicate, as does the
Madonna, a feat that only art can advance without
raising question, but who in Italy, Holland, Spain
the seats of the High Renaissance, would question
what they never saw

it is the passion of these artists, their interpretation
of the invisible, the nonexistent that has inspired me
since I first studied art history in college
to be able to ccreate this with only the words
in collected books, make it whole, visible and

it is the passion that always strikes deep in my heart
the sculpture the paintings, the triptychs and altarpieces
a process in man’s history trying to find and steady his
spiritual beliefs and calm dark and troubled waters
a dark time, the Renaissance, in human history,
not always seen on canvas, a time of rampant murder
and disease, political strife, the destruction of knowledge
burning books, killing strangers to convert

the museum is a hallowed place where reliquaries
rest comfortably in solemn niches that we
a curious audience might trespass into their time-honored
zones and peek, gaze and wonder…
I love a sense of continuity, he red gown of the
Madonna, and no matter we find her posed, her
Mantle of blue
Oft the Christ Child out of proportion, looking as
A broken doll, the Flemish art so filled with symbolism
A guide book is required, but none, none of this
Dims the passion, that passion there for the onlooker
To observe, to feel, to carry home

1950’s Modern

there’s more in the museum, of course, interpretations
of life in other eras, some of which intrigues, some of which
leaves me questioning the artist’s state of mind
there are the introductions of mechanization, cameras
printers, copy machines, and electronic devices
as I gaze and ponder (that word again) I ponder this:
if there are any peoples left in 4015, what will think of this
art, housed in a museum, just as we view 2000 years ago

Lautrec and Jane Avril

by itself, sitting serenely at the edge of a wall
turning a corner, without the fanfare and arpeggio
of massive gilt frames announcing their self-importance
a simple Lautrec drawing on tan-ground paper
Jane Avril, singer, dancer, in understated majesty
unlike some of her finer neighbors, bedecked in
grand surrounds: Monet’s wife en le jardin, a 15th century
Christ on cross bounded by modernity
she looks out into the world under wide-brimmed hat
unaware of destiny, dying as she did in 1943
before Zsa Zsa Gabor played her in Moulin Rouge
a stylized frothy version, but as she descends the
nightclubs staircase singing, Its April Again, words
rewritten as Whenever We Kiss, and a top-10
favorite, certainly mine, a magical world unfolds
for me again, my journey through the museum complete


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