It’s low time we poets restaked a claim
on the nude, scouring like scouts for new
talent on the street, handing out business cards,
promising to make the booties of these beauties
immortal, or at least Poemgirl of the Month.
Why should painters have all the fun?
Sure, a picture’s worth a thousand words,
beauty’s in the eye, not the ear,
of the beholder, yadda, yadda.
But there’s Sistine soot and smoke,
and paint degrades, flakes, and canvas
rots like flesh.
Remember “when in eternal lines to time thou grow’st”?
We already excel at the blazon— brow
of alabaster, lips of cherries, nipples
hard and pink as pencil erasers (!), cheeks
like “roses damask’d red and white,”
breasts like “two young roes
that are twins, which feed among
the lilies” (?!), and that mount of love with the cleft in the blush
of a peach and the fuzz thereof.
Donne poemed the body of his mistress—
“Oh, my America, my Newfoundland,”
but wimped out at the crucial spot:
where “my hand is set,” indeed!
I want, depraved on Parisian Pernod,
to stare for hours at houris,
catch the light just right on silken skin,
write what I know, sure,
but also want to leer, beret cocked,
my gaze straight and steady,
white smock stained with ink,
easel erect and ready.