The Alkaline of Maurizio’s New Exhibit,
(Padovian Artist and Free-Lance Thief)
by Catherine Theis

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Maurizio:         Phenomenon dictates that we must steal,
                        pirate anything we can get our hands on.
                        Have you forgotten about la bicicletta?
                        or the icicle? Cut the cartilage out, see what rots.

Bettina:           We’ve pumiced the borders, sanded everything
                       down, nothing is left, (throws a nail file across
                       the ocean of studio) all that triggers
                       has been sharked, even the gypsies are without.
                       We palm only holes, ladle––tin to tin––rust
                       from pans and snuffboxes, all that glows a hoax.

Maurizio:         How can that be? (cough) I could see
                        when I got dressed this morning. Look!
                        I’m wearing coordinates. Our light is fine.

Bettina:           There is more to light than dressing, and you call
                       yourself the Bicycle Thief. Stick your head
                       to windowpane: Glass films an empty scene.

Maurizio:          Lusimeles, my darling, no scene is completely
                        empty. While you and your men chew,
                        the curtains will open / close.
                        Please, find an iceberg, record how it melts.
                        Volt a condemned pedicator, I don’t care.
                        “At noontime when the earth is bright with flaming
                        heat,” the exhibit must freeze. Those seven critics must sing.

Bettina:           Don’t you think I know? My shoulder blades
                       crack with such weight. Three critics I took to lunch
                       and sucked my marrow clean.

Maurizio:         Did you save your bones?

Bettina:           Don’t even think about displays!

Maurizio:         Osso Buco! What could be better than a little veal shank?

Bettina:           You kalamos, you prick, you unfashioned reed,
                       beautiful words are already your life’s
                       ache, your inner chimney cold.

Maurizio:         Vulgarity is a player. It is the lemon that sours
                        your bones for my exhibit, vinegars the peoples’
                        hearts, and makes them steal for art.

Bettina:           Duct tape your agent, your dealer,
                       your head to the museum wall.
Maurizio:         Hook the night is all I ask.
                       Belly the sun for what it’s worth.
                 Tentacle all the hydroencephali . . .