That would be me.
I have been crazy-busy at work the last several days with registration and panicky students who send 8 e-mails when 1 or 2 would suffice–so crazy, in fact, that when I came home yesterday I made friends with Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
Those of you who know me know I’m not much of a drinker. And those of you who know booze know MHL isn’t much of a booze. But I’m a lightweight (from a drinking perspective, at any rate), so after 3 I pretty much just went to bed.
All of this is by way of saying my Daily Poetry Postcards have been non-existent since the 11th, and I feel really bad about putting them off. Even the motivation of not wanting to disappoint the people to whom they were to be sent couldn’t outweigh the fact that this past week is the week before school, and writing poems was low, low, low item on the totem pole.
Worse, I mislaid the Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin postcard, so I didn’t even get that in the mail on the 10th. So technically, I’m 5 days behind. There are 5 people (6 really, if you count the Day 10 person) who probably cried for hours and hours when they opened their mailbox and found no poem from me. I mean, they’re probably suicidal.
However, today I was somewhat productive in making up for my procrastinating misdeeds, and wrote two poems. One was on Michelangelo’s David (1504) (please don’t tell me I have to link to that–if you don’t know what that looks like, you’re even more ignorant of art than I am, and there’s no hope for you EVER)–although to be fair, the poem is about the entire statue, and not just the crotch shot which the postcard depicts. The other was about Two Girls Embracing (1915), by Egon Schiele, an Austrian artist accused of being lewd and pornographic and degenerate. Here is a quote from Jonathan Jones’ article that discusses his work (from the April 19, 2003 issue of the Guardian):
His work has a specific presence, aggressive, unignorable, practical. They are pornographic. They insist that the erotic is as great and heroic a subject as wars or religion. And they question whether art has to confine itself to representing life second-hand. That’s what is extraordinary about Schiele’s art: it does not comment on life, it takes part in life. It is not like pornography. It is pornography. It is also high and serious art, a doubleness that may only have been possible in Vienna on the eve of the first world war.
Initially, I wasn’t fond of this picture–not because it was pornographic. Actually, I didn’t even think of it as porn until all the articles I read about Schiele kept labeling his work as porn. Actually I still don’t think of it as porn. (Some of the other paintings I’ve seen, maybe, like Nude with Green Stockings. . . which disturbs me more because of the missing foot than anything else.)
But I didn’t like this picture because I don’t understand the fire-dress-drape-blanket thing that the sub girl is wearing. At first I thought she was wrapped in an afghan. But then I saw the red garter attached to her stocking. I still don’t know what she wearing, but I don’t mind it, so much, because the painting has grown on me.
I think I like the pissed-off look the top girl is wearing, as if she’s wondering how much longer she has to hold this embrace, which, it must be said, doesn’t look particularly comfortable. Some might argue that the heavy-lidded eye suggests passion, but I think it’s just the same look that every Victoria Secret model has, that sort of “F-you” look that they cultivate thinking it looks sexy. (By the way, it doesn’t.)
Unfortunately, that poem about the Schiele picture is incomplete. It needs one more line that no amount of tinkering tonight seems to be able to accomplish. So I am putting that line off until tomorrow, and I don’t feel too upset about that.
Unfortunately, tomorrow I will again be three days behind, so my goal is to write 2 poems (in other words, a Day 14 and a Day 15 poem), maybe start a Day 16 poem, and somehow manage to finish that albatrossy syllabus which has been hanging around my neck for days.
And if I get all that done, I might have to drink another MHL. We shall see.
This is no time to wrap yourself in an Afgan. They need to vote.
That was just. . . painful.
There is no way, as far as I can tell, to write 31 good poems in 31 days. I’m starting to reduce my output to epigrams, quatrains, and American Sentences. My last complete poem (from yesterday) is so bad I don’t even know what to do with it. I sent it off in shame, just to fulfill my obligation.
It’s terrible that it’s become an “obligation,” don’t you think? I try not looking at it that way, exactly. I keep telling myself I am giving these people a gift, and I owe it to them (and my writing) for the gift to not be crappy.
So far, that attitude, positive as it is, isn’t helping.