I leant against the wall and

watched them come and go, mostly

female and shedding their clothes to

pose for Sir, but sometimes

well-dressed men who

peered at me with what I took for

disdain—well, I was there a long time and it was

peaceful and dull.



I don’t remember which

particular shop-girl she was,

bought for a few sous to

strip and pose for paintbrush and

prick, but when Sir propped her,

finished, opposite me, I couldn’t help but notice her

whey-faced beauty, her

half-starved innocence—had that

survived the session? Well, pure or

sullied she startled me and

something stirred within the

tightness of my veneer.



I watched the dust settle slowly on her,

softening her pallor but

sharpening my love, the way He’d

caught her between fear and desire, her hands

undecided whether to cover or

proffer her well-thatched sex or the

apple-bosoms that no longer

need fear gravity, and that

long auburn hair which caressed her

boy’s bottom and begged to be wound round a

calloused male fist.



Sir didn’t come for a long time, then

rough men threw a

rough sheet over me, and

darkness so profound I ended up finding

colours in it, and pictures, most of them

of her.



When light startled me, I was in a library

above a fireplace, with nothing but the

spines of books to gaze on and no sound except the

insects eating the books word by word; a gaunt man, a

leaden lady who spoke a language I

didn’t understand; two servants who

fucked violently; the eructations of

explosions with their tiny sifts of dust;

distant cheering; a party with

people in uniform who seemed ecstatic though

not inclined to include me

stuck up in the shadows.



A long silence: the house seemed

shut up. Sometimes I saw her face in the patterns

dust makes as it floats through light.



Then a man on a ladder, his face in

my face, speaking my language, “Oui,

c’est lui”, but I didn’t know him, didn’t

want to, but he knew me. How?



Men brought me down,

hooded me again, the

sickening sense of unseen motion.



Strange spiral, vertiginous, but with one

outrageous blessing, that she was there and that

for once she was looking me in the eye and she

was happy to see me, I think, I

hope, unlike in those long days in that

dusty studio when all she could look at was her

lost innocence.

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  • Tonya Ramey  On October 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Lovely 🙂

  • jmbhatt  On October 27, 2012 at 11:09 am

    some time when artist is away busy/ and subject gets talkative/ all other remain silent and contents listen/ word…by word…
    Excellent work. loved it!!!

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