Three Portraits of the Artists:
degas between ballets
so often he captures
not the star performance,
but the dancers, workers
really, at their classes,
stretching out, sweating,
scratching their backs,
bored, awkward, tired,
and unbeautiful. all
the hard , unglamorous routine
that goes into producing the
aesthetic illusion, the
momentary transcendence of
the dreary here-and-now, the
transformation of our greasy,
pimpled, aching matter into
a form that briefly matters.
paul klee: schoolgirls, outdoors,
children should not smoke cigars.
children should not be cigars.
children should not become cigars.
these are metaphysical givens.
some children have two heads.
some children are tow heads.
some children have one head,
but four eyes. some children
have three eyes apportioned
over one-and-a half heads.
some children have stovepipes
for heads. some children’s heads
are violet, while other children
gradually become indistinguishable
from the background coloration
(like chameleons, but irreversible).
some children are the color of ether:
these are known as “ethereal.”
thus, some children remain part of
a cosmic consciousness (which is
monochrome), while others become
adults, individuals, separated by
broad brushstrokes and a color of
their own, one different from that
of the world and those of their fellow
adults. they are then allowed to smoke
cigars. this is a pataphysical certainty.
it was a good year for schoolgirls
to go back indoors,
but they didn’t.
amedeo modigliani: servant girl,
wispy hair, prim dress, clunky boots:
eyes (and expectations) cast beneath
the middle distance.
hands comforting each other.
but the sensitivity to stimulation of
the lips, cheeks, ears, and (always)
curving, elongated neck remind us
that our uniforms can only temporarily
obscure what are not uniform:
the naked truths of our nerve endings,
our erogenous zones and erectile tissues.
thus, a servant girl’s a girl
(a woman is a woman)
for all that.
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