Monsieur, Monsieur, what would you think these days about

your paintings poorly reproduced, muted monochromatic

slipped into sloppy frames hanging in hallways

that will never see the sunlight, the stars, the moon above

the brash barbed wire circles jailing

abandoned churches and schools, once thriving

store fronts, old hotels, the ruins of Newark

noise and graffiti competing with the

temporary trappings of life, of work, of wonder

below the neon signed buildings, bricks crumbling

concrete walls, plastic flapping flags triangular

like prayers for old cars, presumably for sale

like pawn shops squeezed next to beauty parlors,

bodegas, bakeries, piles of refuse, towering

angry murals painted over hardware and furniture store

stencilling, barred windows, grated doors, people wearing layers

of clothes walking dogs that have seen better days,

no one makes eye contact here with this white woman

seeking answers in this harsh place where your

soft palette, shimmering water, oh Claude, with

your battered hat and cane going blind kept painting

these are the people who need to see your lost lilies

these are the people who need your gentle Japanese bridges

witnessed years ago pristine in a museum, the entire room

so silent, strangers dared not talk or whisper or move

although many wept where once your old French hands

had captured the elusive inner calm in the midst of noise,

trials and troubles, the peace which passes all understanding

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