Steve in the Holy Louvre
(written in Paris, France)

OK, here I am in the famous Louvre Museum
I finally made it. After all the hype
After all those French classes
So long ago, lost in time.

I'm looking at the Mona Lisa
Staring her in the eye, and she in mine
In front of a bunch of Japanese tourists
Taking selfies with grinless faces.

My wife beside me is far prettier
Her smile of happiness so much warmer
We are finally together in Paris
So this very moment outshines art.

The Mona Lisa is so very small, tiny really
Especially compared to the monumental
Paintings and buildings around her
Or the black guard sitting impassive, bored.

I'm pretty bored by all the art myself
A small town boy from Indiana in the city
Though all of that is lost in time too
I have come around the world to here.

Watching people looking and reacting
Is more interesting, so I sit and watch
There is no excitement and I feel none either
This dead old stuff generates no hormones.

Nothing causes the oohh's and aahh's of a sunset
Or a rock concert blasting 125 decibels
And I am struck again by the powerlessness
Of art, how you could burn all these paintings,

Pulverize all these 3000-year-old statues
And life would not change one little bit
Our imaginations might be impoverished
But imagination can endure any loss.

I sit and think of questions to ask the attendants
"Where are the robots and rocket ships?"
"Is there anything not so old and dark?"
"Where do you keep the GOOD paintings?"

On the one hand, there is the magnificence
This artwork is housed in day and night and
The hand-carved frames gilded with gold leaf
On the other, the houseless and life without hope.

Where are the values art gives lip service to?
What is important in this life on this planet?
Must something be flat and old to be of value?
Or does life tell us it is art that is dead?


Steve in the Palace
at Versailles
(written in Paris, France)

Well, here we go again
(See "Steve in the Holy Louvre")
Holy crap! Versailles!
Gold leaf fucking EVERYWHERE!
Marble statues and gigantic paintings
Miles of gardens with fountains
The Sun King and Marie Antoinette
Napoleon on a bucking white horse
Halls filled with scenes of battle
And one little room for peace.

The excess does not make me say,
"Hey, good for them Frenchmen!
They really knew how to live!"
I don't find myself thinking, "How romantic!"
All the doings of the court and royals
Instead, make my stomach turn
From the blind decadence of it all
Ugly the crown and the clothes
Loathsome the stones sitting sadly
Lost the lessons of luxury and excess.


Steve Among
the Ruins of Rome
(written in Rome, Italy)

Here, time is made of stone
All else has turned to dust
And been blown down the river
By the breath of Zeus himself.

The lives and loves are gone
The great and the small passed away
And all that is left is but nothing
Though it hints at what can be.

It is here we say our last farewell
To return to the land that we know
What we take with us can't be seen
And when we are gone, the stones will remain.



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