Homage To Leon Golub, American Painter (1922-2004)

Homage to Leon Golub,
American Painter (1922-2004)


As long as rope and handguns are available,

victims will be tied to chairs and pistol-whipped

by goons while other thugs in makeshift uniforms

look on, smoking cigarettes and glowering.

Other hapless captives will cower on the ground,

trussed up, and be promptly stomped to death.

Less fortunate ones will dangle from the rafters

upside down in straitjackets and be pumped

for information. Outside in the alley, someone else,

perhaps already dead, will be stuffed into the trunk

of an idling black sedan, never to be seen again.

This is just the way things are all day

in Leon Golub's world, where lurid anarchy prevails

and there seems to be no likelihood at all

that anyone will be restoring order soon.

So we should sit right down, have a nice hot cup

of tea and three delicious chocolate-covered cookies

and release a guilty, heartfelt sigh of gratitude

that Golub's reality, from which we cannot wrench

our anxious eyes away, bears such scant resemblance

to the one we occupy ourselves--at least for now.

George J. Searles

Originally from Jersey City, George J. Searles is a community college teacher in upstate New York.  He came to higher education from an earlier career in social work (max security prison, public assistance, state mental hospital). Writing textbooks to pay the bills and poetry because he has no choice, he is a former Carnegie Foundation New York State "Professor of the Year." He has published in 80+ lit mags, including The Alembic, California Quarterly, Chiron, Coe Review, Concho River Review, Footwork, Lynx Eye, Mad Swirl, Main Street Rag, The Potomac, Red Rock Review, Seneca Review, Southampton Review, Taproot, Third Wednesday, Trajectory, and others.


  1. Homage and class should go together; yet there are times they have separate visions. This isn't a case of that. Pure and purposeful poetry at its best.

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