Outsider Art

Most of it’s too dreary
or too cherry red.
If it’s a chair, it’s
covered with things
the savior said
or should have said—
dense admonishments
in nail polish
too small to read.
If it’s a picture,
the frame is either
burnt matches glued together
or a regular frame painted over
to extend the picture. There never
seems to be a surface equal
to the needs of these people.
Their favorite purpose wraps
around the backs of things
and under arms;
they gouge and hatch
and glue on charms
till likable materials—
apple crates and canning funnels—
lose their rural ease. We are not
pleased the way we thought
we would be pleased.

From Elephant Rocks (Grove Press, 1996)