Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vintage Nudes

My brother shared this at our poetry gathering last month, I LOVE it. The poet wrote it after rummaging through old black and white "erotic" photos, and as I daily read about sex, eroticism, differentiation and emotional fusion in the context of marital counseling, this poem just rings so sweetly and innocently of, golly i don't know what.
But I like it so here it is.

Vintage Nudes

Hard to imagine them now as someone’s
guilty pleasure—
these corn fed pixies and teasing vamps
cavorting in jazz age boudoirs.
We want to avert our eyes,
slip quietly out Desire’s half-open
door, abashed to have glimpsed
Grandma, young and half-naked
In there.

Here one sits in baggy satin drawers
at the edge of the bed, cradling
her kitten, waving its paw
for the camera. And here,
a “Parisian Beauty” demurs on a couch
behind a fan of peacock feathers,
its hundred eyes blue
as the Georgia dusk.

Even the Egyptian slave girl
with the serpent arm bands, hands
raised, fingers pointing backward
and forward; or these turbaned
bathers, artful in Attic poses,
now look to us as innocent
as “Spring,” arrayed here
as a disheveled shepherdess.

So intent is she on plucking
daisies from the field,
which seems to stretch out forever
beneath her flimsy satin shoes,
that she has forgotten
her blouse.

What can you do but unbutton
your coat and place it around
her shoulders? Come along, Dear,
you say, put down your basket,
and we’ll have some tea. Come in
with me now, all of you,
for night is falling, and soon
you will be cold.

-Jennifer Maier

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