Action Painting

A canvas we cannot stretch across the frame
nor staple down to fact: a ladder leaning

against an awning, workers pitching tar
on the roof of a church packed each week

with swine—a chain of pearls dangling
off the limbs of an artificial tree

where boy scouts gather in a tool shack,
jacking off to the sounds of Perry Como

on a karaoke machine—a televised priest
gesticulating wildly at the pulpit again.

 

Against Nature

   Those bottled fruit flies in Bethesda
(darlings of genetic research
   for nearly a century) waste no time
         in getting down to business—
   laboratory love now gone awry
(Ward Odenwald and Shang-Ding Zhang
   bewildered at the males in circles
         who start to link up end-to-end
   with a frenzy once reserved for females—
winged conga lines parading
   inside those gallon-size culture jars,