Living Museum

Just before we died to life, we had museums
representing live things. The Egyptians started the trend
with pyramids celebrating the culture of their death.
Then Plato and some follow-up
thinkers said that life is not here,
but is bundled up in algorithms in
a place too hard to comprehend,
and made Socrates talk to us on paper.
So we give up looking for the whole of our reality,
inventing abstractions that remove us further.

I took my daughter, when young–just so she’d see it
for herself–to one of the living museums.
You could learn how tall a horse really stood,
run your fingers over an exact replication of the
hide of a cow, and listen in little speakers
to what a duck quack sounded like.

The day no one could remember these live
things any more, when sophistication had replaced
the real moving, kicking and breathing of life,
the museums were ordered closed.

I still remember that day.
How amused I felt when stepping out
the front door and instead of a mosaic-like image
of a pigeon: a real one, in love with another one,
cooed just overhead.

When the museum closed it stood empty for a day.
New walls were quickly erected,
and paintings hung on them.
Inmates from the art-colony-asylum were showing
their work.
I would like to describe the new reality that they have etched out
for you and me:

Black squishy paint with tiny balls of metallic-induced
light, oh, and…never mind…
Go see for yourself.
The exhibit changes all the time.

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