June 2008 / Volume Eight / Issue Two
Ashley Nuzzi
a 77 year-old man with a hammer

I have given dignity back to the object…It’s existence was broken…It was going to have a miserable existence.
–Pierre Pinoncelli, arrested January 7, 2006

he is just
vieil homme in Paris—
all patchwork and paper-mache;
all voice and no teeth —
            an old dissenter come to gape
            at the fountain of avant-garde
            that R. Mutt claimed,
            fingering a museum map
            like a lucky tarot card.

he wanders: a stray echo in an achromatic bubble—
spitting in the champagne,
saluting the green button in the elevator
for being green—
             his wild giddy-ruddiness
             mistaken for the passé trappings of insanity.

            and maybe they laughed at first
            when he unzipped his pants
            or spit out their champagne
            when he left his mark
            on Duchamp’s throne,
but they never really saw
his ball-peen wielding glory
until someone screamed—

             perhaps to usher
             the new pieces at his feet
             into the world.