NaPoWriMo #13

Exercise for Children 1: Music and Movement

Find a Picasso painting in a museum,

large or small. If it’s small, make yourself small. 

Note the sharp and soft parts of the figures,

and tell me, of what materials

are they made, and how would they move, 

and what would it sound like?

Notice the musicians in infinite

exposures, their guitars and violins

and accordions, their forms like sheer fabric

sliced into triangles and pulled apart. 

See here the throat of the “Mother

with Dead Child,” like a bendy straw’s

stretched out neck, the popping of every rung

when you stretch it out.


See the carved up body of “The Swimmer”

(1934), her face caved in,

a gasping funnel (hear the gasping, the splashing),

one nostril and one eye aimed upward and wide

as though they can suck air, too. 

See how her breasts swim detached from her body

like pilot fish.  They are of the dark triangles

of underwater.  See how the surface,

sharp shards of consciousness, holds her in stocks

at the neck and elbow and ankle,

toes and fingers that spread in pain or fear or ecstasy. 


Then move to “The Charnel House” and tell me

if the bodies stacked on top of bodies

make one body, and if you feel, too,

as though these figures are underwater,

or if you smell them at all.  See the food

on the table above them, just slightly

out of reach.   If you make a small frame

inside the painting with your fingers, 

what do you see? The tiny foot of a baby

next to the gaping mouth of a woman

next to a navel that faces up with an “o.”

And what are these undulating forms

exiting the scene in the top, right hand corner? 


Other paintings to consider: “The Rower”:

its body a creaking of machines 

trapped in such a small space, its movements

all feeding a closed system, arms, back, and legs

a circular movement of levers,

the head a skull that sticks up from the top

on a swinging neck, the background all foamy white.

“The Kiss” (various versions): the various lovers

of Picasso / the various ways to play

the charnel house game / the infinite ways

we melt into each other.  

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One Response to NaPoWriMo #13

  1. geezergirl1 says:

    well done and painful..

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