Life Study: Homage to Picasso
Guernica turned your cheek.
Before, you painted with the love of a Frenchman,
with the quick pulse of a Spanish grandee.
Woman, after all, was
your favorite topic of conversation.
You dressed her in soft curves,
exposed the body's lines in pink chemise
thin as an illusion.
Eyes you muted with shadows
the color of fall afternoons.
(Francoise's were pale mauve,
her lids, heavier, suggesting.)
The neck you made slender,
to hold the way a swan holds its own—
proud, high, twisted with no regret.
The mouth is only slightly sad
describing the end of happiness in winter.
At age 20
your works played in all the right places.
You sculpted, engraved, painted, married.
Shapes you defied crowded your canvas
with the rareness of your smile,
odd and broken choices,
the objects of Neruda's house.
Forms you twisted into secret rendezvous
with young boys' hopes,
bloody petitions to line bureau drawers.
You were young in Guernica.
You were a man with a pendulum in his head
subtracting fragments of reality.
You left your sentence unfinished.
Angels quit reluctantly—
like generals out of breath.
Today, students fuss
about your message.
Rich men still own you.
Loveless old ladies in famous galleries
insist on tired explanations
of your business.
I would say,
Your name carries its own weight.
But some might give apologies
for looking at you wrong,
not meaning to.
Copyright 1978 - 2009 Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.