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Piero Manzoni

ISSUE:  Winter 1992
A doorway,
or huddled in one,
dark, recessed,
where passers-by
glance furtively,
afraid of the hoarse request,
the threat, or temptation
off the road that leads
directly home,
away from that country
whose flag is a rag
to muffle bloody coughs,
and the dark into which
no one looks too closely,
that may go on forever
or suddenly stop short.
He died in the dark,
in the cold.
An open coffin
stood on end.
A doorway,
or huddled in one.
Who clowned,
who mocked,
who played the fool
yet left
among this century’s
poignant artifacts
his “Artist’s Breath,”
the balloon once tense,
full of life and ego,
now dull, deflated,
a pool of unreflecting rubber,
that recalls the question
which haunts each funeral,
where is he now
who was just here?


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