Robinson Walks Museum Mile

the ideal city building itself in his brain.
Is this mile magnificent? He's lived here
a while, but the mile feels unreal. Robinson's
training himself to act blasé. Do museums
amuse me? Yes, but not today. Would he
like to be in one? Of course. Why not?
An object of value with canvas wings,
an unchanging face in a gilt frame, arranged—
thoughtless, guilt-free, & preserved
for eternity. Robinson doesn't want to be
exceptional. He knows he is. He wants to be
perceived exceptional. Trains plunge by, steam
rising from the grates. Sing, muse! of a man
ill-met at the Met. A man on his lunch break,
heading for a heartbreak, a break-up with Time.
A break-up with time? Feeling filled with ice,
the way you chill a glass, Robinson passes
the National Academy. He craves a sense
of belonging, not to always be longing. To be
standing in a doorway, incredibly kissable,
not waiting at the four-way, eminently missable.
Is this mile magnanimous? He wants it
unanimous: that this is his kind of town—
up & down & including Brooklyn. The sky
is clearing, but the isolation sticks.
Robinson's not sure what a camera obscura
is for, but he thinks he should have
his portrait done with one. Faces
blur by as he heads toward the Frick.
Something used to photograph the obscure.


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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