Robert Collet Tricaro

Dali's Apprentice

When Dali winked at him on the beach,
then asked if he'd model for his paintings,
the man visualized Dali's youthful Columbus

bearing the banner of a Madonna.
He could smell the warm crust
in Dali's Basket of Bread, taste the wine

in his Last Supper, remember the hour
on his melting watches,
admire the coffee brown of his eyes.

He accepted the offer to model and paint,
choosing to ignore the master's many works
depicting severed limbs and cracked faces.

Some months later, Dali finished Tuna Fishing.
From a walkway leading to the beach,
he called out to his apprentice to view

its finishing touch.
To the man's surprise, he had been painted
into the foreground. Or, should he

have been shaken? As their intimacy
grew, Dali became annoyed with the young man
turning away from themes portraying

life as distorted soft body parts and boiled beans.
Dali said the youth had much to learn about life—
that he would shove him into its rotting core.

On the canvas, Dali faced him toward
the slaughter passively; his figure too easy
of manner. The shape of his head,

curly black hair and net-like undershirt—
unmistakable. In water turning
sallow, he is witnessing a violent

and irrational orgy
of naked men, plunging, stabbing,
impaling tuna whose eyes are targets

of pain.
He took up the master's tools,
scraped out his image, then painted

himself into the foreground
wading away from the calamity,
as though into the room—toward the front door.

Three Pillars of Despair


In still another poem past
its final revision, its author
has me standing under
a rip of sky named punishment.


I am puzzled to see others
in my dream, decorating it
for a festival. I inch toward them,
but they leave dancing the two-step,
each taking a part of my dream
with them. I awaken
wearing a party hat, but
alone, again.


Today I realize each time
I welcome a cool gentle wind
as a blessing, its only mission
is to fill the void where I am standing.