The African masks were a decoy
a surface sauvagerie
and that encounter in a museum, how they trailed
their fresh magic like packing straw,
was a smokescreen. They were all bathers,
recycled Cézanne – a squatting thigh
an inviting armpit, but no up-draft here
no holy flame, no Toledo.
The melon’s a cutlass. All the edges are sharp,
oh how we’ll be lacerated
to heart flesh. Old friend, you went after
the blue nude like a dog
with a bone, checked the facts, the dates,
the outrage of Matisse, Mr. Luxe,
Mr. Calme. The shaggy brushwork on the leg
and the sky color were stolen.
It was a thing with you to show what the little
plagiarist was up to.
Dear old blue nude, all of you weighs so much,
as if you’re walking on Saturn,
bearing the heavy parts, and the young ladies, always
they beckon, always they bar the way.