With the mid 90’s came the Dadaist revenge of Marcel Duchamp,
sculpted as a ready-made art named ‘fountain’:
a urinal bowl—lost in its slender curvature. porcelain china of cupped grace.
camphor, tucked in breathing corners to deodorize stench.
when brought to a round table, Brian Eno pees on the narrative.
the clear, pale, foul-smelling substance received in an overflood.
a witness traces this act to the artwork.
says, a thing isn’t fountain if it won’t hold more than can be managed,
if liquid doesn’t skirt above its bright surface in superabundance:
a bladder-filled effort to live up to its name.
a journal writes off the stink in their remark:
‘he chose the ordinary & gave it purpose.’
even the most boring objects, when faced with light, wee out some truth.
perhaps our guts deserves a fair hearing,
but not the feminist. not the mind-blowing ego that went into
creating a pee pot to swing scrotes at liberty.
how, in their pressed state, women fold into positions to leak heavily.
I meet the object’s gaze, long enough to hold an opinion.
damn the sculptors & their queer posturing,
damn beauty & its detailed lack of intelligence.
now, I walk into every latrine, memorizing to bend,
not knowing where the next posture lands me,
or who amongst us is item for ridicule.
the Fountain ages into dust at the museum,
& they assemble the shatter—
piecing each shiny ceramic till a puzzle stared back at us.
Duchamp reproduced more urinal bowls,
bought & sentenced each stainless white to the four corners of a room.
I’ve waited all my life to give my two cents,
weighed my moments of shame alongside the visitor’s laughter
& stayed unsuccessful in the endeavor.
I understand all it takes to be laid bare to scrutiny,
to have eyes dissect you in bits—seeking out places to make a mess of.
I too, am out of numbers with the times my family had put up for unction:
a bestseller teenager.
when Freytag-Loringhoven submitted a pee pot to a panel,
she is saying, America, I do not want you to piss on my country:
the runny enjambment of letter—a stampede of wishes.
textbook tells me: an object that sits motionless as a corpse,
becomes one, & I unlearn introversion.
loneliness—the size of whale, surrounds us all. yet, no one sees it.
the morning I left home, Pa locked me up in my study,
& I watched my siblings peer into the wooden frame, like I was some familiar object.
they fed their eyes to its fill.
nose, sniffing around me. hands, touring the length of the padlock.
say, I am removed from this room,
will I still be object for your attraction?
Marcel Duchamp was a French painter, sculptor, whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. He was popularly referred to as the father of conceptualism.
Brian Eno was a musical genius. He was due to deliver a lecture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art called ‘Hight Art/Low Art’, and “there it was, sitting in the museum”
Elsa Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven was a German-born avant-garde visual artist and poet, whose radical self-displays came to embody a living Dada. She was considered one of the most controversial and radical women artists of the era, and allegedly owner of the “Urinal Fountain” idea.