and I wonder, as I paint her singleness –
so poignantly alone, up there on the podium
in the freezing studio where the rest of us
have kept our coats on, her skin pimpled, bluish,
seeing a quiver ripple up her I wonder whether
taking off her clothes, boots and ear-rings
and ridding her mouth of lipstick (she does this;
wipes it off on her forearm leaving her face stark naked)
whether letting her body be so coldly looked at,
strip lighting so harsh, so unforgiving, whether
letting herself be treated so badly – all our eyes
poking into her in this bare, chilly art-room –
is an act of madness, or a mid-life crisis
or her crying out like a masochist Hurt me.
KUNST by Suki
told Muse-in-Chief I’d had some unexpected reactions – shocked
ones – to my poem ‘Life Model’ after I cheerfully circulated it
to people I model for. Her frank reply:
‘It has always struck me that there is something pervy about artists wanting to paint naked people – not necessarily pervy in the erotic sense, but because it’s a very unequal relationship, and also historically associated with all sorts of class and gender imbalances. I’m surprised that any artist may not have thought about this, but it just shows they are a bit self-obsessed and arrogant if they haven’t. If they are so up themselves that this poem has shocked them, then it is about time something did!’
Muse-in-Chief is brilliant at big blunt opinions. As my editor she makes me delete, delete, delete. My readers’ responses to her poke in the ribs (read them below) and to the rest of this post continue to be very welcome.
At poetry readings I’m grateful if I achieve an audience of three punters and a dog. If you are one of the three reading this (no dog, I am realistic), could I ask you, please, to email the link to one friend who may be interested in art, poetry, life, love, or living alone, so that I might double my readership to six? Thank you so much.
‘The model’s pose is not a single moment. it’s an event occurring throughout the painting’, announced He-Who-Dumped-Me at last night’s life class (to read about me being dumped, see page 1 of TWO SMALL LIVES, my autobiog part II). HWDM will have lifted this statement from somewhere. He said he was being post-Einsteinian. I don’t know what I ever saw in him.
I guess what that means is – if I move a bit, it’s okay.
Not that I ever do.
Desperate for sleep (long train-and-bicycle commute to tomorrow’s 9 a.m. modelling booking) I am unable to go to bed. Why? Because I am kneeling beside my toilet weeping piteously as I poke at the back of it with tools, at the place on the pipe where water is trickling out at the rate of jug-filled-to-top every ten minutes. I need a plumber, preferably a free one – which could be the one I modelled with who fancies me but frankly I do not want to do any return favours for Pete the Plumber, and anyway my need is NOW. How to stop the flow. It is 1.15 a.m…
This week’s pic: YOLANDE ARMSTRONG
Having worked in the creative arts, education and academia in the UK, Africa and SE Asia, Yolande tells me her passion for painting and drawing is a re-discovery. She believes in people and in their power to create and re-create themselves