Andy Warhol Judges Cheerleader Tryouts, Trump Tower, New York, NY, 1/15/84

A poem by Daniel M. Shapiro


The building’s owner had asked him
to show up at noon. He remembered
years earlier, the line drawing he’d burned
onto silkscreens, the commissioning
of a portrait of a half billion dollars’ worth
of compensation that stands where sculptures
of goddesses used to slink in Art Deco,
goddesses abandoned like homely mortals.

He remembered thinking Trump wasn’t willing
to pay the asking price, art reserved only
for deals. He had gotten over being shot
in the chest but still could never accept
the confluence where working-class rust
runs into the inherited lust for veneer.
So he took his time, went to church,
strolled through the doors at 2 o’clock.

Sitting with legs crossed, wig the color
of the most prized tenants, he snickered
as he watched contestants gyrating
to Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop,” anthem
for a woman’s right to self-pleasure.
As pyramids surrendered to backflips,
he pictured a 2,000-square-foot mural
of multicolored girls, a bully-proof wall.

Daniel M. Shapiro is the author of the full-length collection How the Potato Chip Was Invented (sunnyoutside, 2013) and chapbooks Heavy Metal Fairy Tales (Throwback Books, 2016) and The 44th-Worst Album Ever (NAP, 2012). He is a poetry editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Review.

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