Attributed to the Harrow Painter

When I was twelve,
My tennis coach asked me
To pose for him after practice.
I’m an artist, he told me,
I coach to pay the bills.
He loved Greek vase work.
Largely, he said, while
Inching his thumb
Just under the lip
Of my underwear,
Because pottery
Is pretty much all we know
Of Greek painting.
It’s all that’s survived.
He had an easel
In his office, his kit, a stool
To sit on. He knew every
Angle of light
In that locker room,
All of it bronze & loamy
In my memories, steam
Flowering from the wet
Concrete underfoot.
I don’t know why I stood
For him so many times.
He showed me pictures
He talked while he worked.
His worldview, he
Acknowledged, mediated
By his reading of
The charcoal sketch I made
Of Lennon & Ono’s
Rolling Stone cover,
Where they lie
In state,
Seething with hate
In my rendering,
Slotted with guilt &
Rotting from the
Outside in.
I don’t know why I stood
For him so many times.
The whole thing
Was a riot,
A ball, I’ve dined out
On my recollections
Of what became
Our weekly sessions,
For years. Whatever
I know I owe him.
Of course this isn’t
True, but the meme
Persists. I can’t look
At anything in a museum
Without thinking about him.