written by: Annie Lure
The masses proffer their brains as if wreaths to Stalin.
Stalin hoards their brains the way a schoolboy hoards candy.
Poor Stalin’s got no face. The sun burned it off. The rain washed it out. A hoarded brain munched it.
His devotees peel their faces and paste them where his should be.
Stalin sieves smiles onto the masses like an industrious mother.
But the brainy few eschew the smiles. Pray tell, dear leader, isn’t your ‘production mode’ a capitalist investment?
Stalin gazes at his gilded mirror the way Yahweh gazed at the face of the antediluvian Earth: Let there be no thinking man.
Stalin whisks the brains with a flick of his finger. But some brains adhere to their skulls.
Stalin lobotomizes the brains. The palms sew their lifelines into his placard sticks.
Dear citizens, we have converted the counterrevolutionaries.
The masses strike their hands, flint with steel, igniting a prolonged and undiminished applause.
The artist labors underground, high on turpentine. His brush incantates his hand. It wards off Stalin’s commissions for an idol and an idyll.
The confiscated brains of his countrymen ring the bell of his head. He limns a box about his effaced, brainless people.
His painting rides his vigor. It blooms on the wall of Zimmerli Art Museum.
The bloody applause clangs my brain.