William Doreski

Photo Shoot

Fresh architectural eruptions
spangle the city and tease you
for photographs gaudy enough
to render their planes of color
as two-dimensional artworks
museums could hang on their walls.
You’ve shown at MOMA and Met,
but these postmodern expressions
daunt your pragmatic technique.

As your guide, I should warn you
that the low green enameled structure
contains the dullest bureaucrats,
whose sighs lack romantic sorrow;
while the tall reflective thing clad
in violet plate glass braces
a sheaf of antennae broadcasting
music raucous enough to cloud
whatever image you snap.

Why not catch the winter sun
washing that marble, tomb-like
bus station wheezing diesel fumes?
What of that stainless-steel façade
reflected by the icebound river?
You might depict people burdened
with the weight of Christmas shopping
emerging from a mall embossed
with faux-Aztec and Mayan motifs.

I’m sorry I suggested this trip,
but you said you wanted to plump
your portfolio for the new year,
when grant applications are due.
The restored Museum of Science
glows like a topaz crystal.
Stand over here and notice
how angular the slab-sides look,
how desperate to please the eye.

The camera isn’t really an eye,
though, and isn’t readily pleased.
The city looks defeated by
architecture it can’t absorb.
The new buildings look uneasy
as dentures in a sore old mouth;
but with your grand aesthetic
and years of struggle you know
how to coax your subject to smile.


William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (2019).