All museums are afraid of me
When I spend a whole day
Contemplating a painting
The following day they announce
It has disappeared.
Every day I am found stealing
In another part of the world
Yet I am unperturbed
By the bullets which whistle past my ears
And the police dogs
Which now know the smell of my steps
Better than lovers
The perfume of their beloved.
I talk loudly to the oil paintings
That endanger my life
I hang them up on the clouds and trees
Then step back to study the perspective.
With the Italian masters it’s easy to start a conversation
What a chatter of colors!
And so with them
I am easily detected
Heard and seen from a distance
As if I were carrying parrots.
The most difficult to steal is Rembrandt.
You reach to touch him and come upon darkness
You panic, his people have no bodies
Only. eyes locked in dark cellars.
Van Gogh’s canvases are mad
They swirl and turn head over heel
You must keep a tight grip with both hands
They are sucked in by some power of the moon.
Why should Breughel make me cry?
He was no older than me
Yet he was named the Elder
Because he was omniscient when he died.
I try to learn from him
But I can’t keep my tears
From running on his golden frames
As I escape, the seasons under my arm.
As I say
Each night I steal a painting
With a dexterity to be envied
And yet it is such a long way
And finally caught I am caught.
So home I come late at night
Tired, torn by dogs,
Bearing in my hands a cheap reproduction.