Andrew Haley


Rauschenberg's Prints

Ivana in hand we take our tour in the darkness the monuments are
well monumental glowing alabaster globs I told you I need glasses
This is a dead city, she insists, and Oh, el obelisco! to my chagrin
And though I mutter about the common the mud the empty center
in the heart of it all elicit nothing and we are walking the long lawn
the cupola behind us and she is uninspired curious at most as to
what she’ll tell her father bearded sixty Argentine and communist
concerned actually concerned by the bells and whistles of the next
ninety-thousand dollar high jinx fostering in future flames but alas
not the temple to the god of the people not the temple to Jefferson
the god strutting in his temple not Lincoln saturnine at our horizon
impress her and the sun is blazing when we slip inside the cool
tomblike corridors of the National Gallery and slip down into the
basement where the whole fiasco of your century is stamped
Gemini to Gemini and spiraling true to the innocence of matter
little found things antiquated smiles and Russia’s domes seized
in silhouette to a sharper oblivion than time with man allows
a scrip of cuttings and impressions fixed in imperfect surety to
the haze that swallows every century and in front of this Ivana’s
rapt Robert Rauschenberg you are a real American hero

Andrew Haley is the author four novels, the most recent of which is Beggars Opera. His Poem to Get Started was praised by former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, judge of the 2006 Utah Writers Contest. Other poems have appeared in Western Humanities Review, Quarterly West, and GoodFoot. Haley’s translations of Cocteau, Rimbaud, Li Po, Neruda and others have appeared in or are forthcoming from Cipher and Zone.


Published in Volume 10, Number 1, Winter 2009.