The Chicago Picasso

The Chicago Picasso was unveiled in Summer of 1967, two years before I was born. My dad (1931 - 2005) wrote this poem at the time. He wasn't a big fan of modern art.

Upon First Seeing the Chicago Picasso

The jagged steel lacerates the sky
And shocks the sight of all who gaze upon
The blank, dumb face and stark, ugly form
The puzzled crowds mill 'round the ungainly beast
Awaiting revelation, as if this
Repulsive figure had a tale to tell
Some cryptic meaning they cannot perceive.

Some say a horse, while others feel a bird
Is represented here; still others think
A woman's form is what the sculptor meant.
And thus they stand in reverential awe
Convinced that it's a newfound deity
Then a shrill voice (that only poets hear)
Comes shrieking through the still-dumbfounded crowd:

CALL ME MEDEA. Let it be proclaimed
That I have roamed from time immemorial
Condemned to never rest until I've found
A habitat conducive to my soul.

I was banished from my native land
(for evil was not honored at that time)
When I betrayed my father and then brought
Unto my lover Jason agony and sadness
For I killed our children when I learned
That Jason's love had been untrue.
Then, as the poet wrote, my tale being done,
I quick ascended on a fiery steed.
Heaven would not have me, so I roam
These thousand years until I find a home.

And thus have I descended here today!
For I have found your hearts akin to mine
You betrayed your founding fathers when
You advocated war in Vietnam
Though Jesus, God of Love, was not untrue
You brought agony to his heart
By bloodying the mud of Vietnam
And, just as I, you kill your own children
You dispatch them to their doom in Vietnam.

Now I am fit to reign supreme,
The pagan saint of all you idolize:
Deceit, Betrayal, Murder, these you adore;
This is in your hearts, so worship here.
The hideousness that now disturbs your sight
Is but your heart's corruption brought to light.

- J.D. Bell

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