japonisme: the bath, part 4

23 July 2009

the bath, part 4


I am a slave to the nudity of women.
I do not know with what resolve

I could stand against it,
a naked woman
Asking of me anything.

An unclothed woman is
sometimes other things.
I see her in a dish of green pears.

Anselmo, do you know what I mean if I say
Without clothes

Her breasts are the two lions
In front of the New York Public Library,

Do you know that postcard of mine?
In those lions there is something

For which I have in exchange
Only sounds. Only my fingers.

I see her everywhere. She is the lions
And the pears,
those letters of the alphabet

As children we called dirty, the W,
The Y, the small o.

She is absolutely
the wet clothing on the line.
Or, you know, to be more intimate,

May I? The nub, the nose of the pear,
Do you know what I mean?
Those parts of the woman

I will call two Spanish dancer hats,
Or rounder sometimes,
doughboy helmets from the War.

Sometimes they are flat
in the late afternoon
Asleep. Like drawings,

Like a single rock thrown into the lake,
These parts of a woman
an imperfect circling

Gyre of lines moving out,
beyond the water.
They reach me at the shore, Anselmo.

Without fail, they are stronger,
And they have always been
faster than I am.

It’s like watching the lassoing man,
The man with the perfectly circling rope,

Pedro Armendariz in the Mexican movies,
Or Will Rogers. Wherever one is from,

Whoever this man is.
And he is always there.
Everybody knows one.

He always makes his big lasso,
twirling his rope
Around himself and
a woman from the audience

Only I am the woman,
do you understand, Anselmo?
Caught in the circling rope. I am the woman

And me thinking of a woman
Without clothes

Is that man and that rope
And we are riding on separate horses.

Alberto Ríos

from Teodora Luna's Two Kisses. Copyright © 2000 by Alberto Ríos.

are the men who are the capturers, the 'nurturers,' the captured, in fact? in the whole bath series, we have naked women being seen by (presumably) clothed men. i have tried to choose images in which the women are not apparently posing, apparently unaware of being observed. but in fact they are.

i have to admit that i don't exactly know what to make of all of this. when i used to do my magazine i realized that both male and female artists were most likely to feature their nudes female.
i like looking. feel comforted by looking.

so is it sexist? fashionable, yes (at that time, 'bathers' was a de rigour subject), but oppressive too? i just don't know. what do you think? if you are a woman, do you feel you are capturer or captured?
and men -- same question.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actaeon was captured for good when he saw Artemis bathing naked. After becoming a lotus-eater, I hear Sirens. What an Odyssey! d

24 July, 2009 00:18  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i don't always understand what you say, d, but i always love it. a koan wrapped in a haiku....

24 July, 2009 07:07  
Anonymous evan said...

"Take me to the river/ Drop me in the water/ Washing me, washing me down..." -Talking Heads

24 July, 2009 09:51  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i guess we all have the wish to be redeemed

24 July, 2009 10:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunter Actaeon spied once goddess Artemis bathing naked. To punish him, she had him eaten by his own dogs ( here, the viewer is the one who's captured, as an answer to your final question).
About the rest, one stop in the Odyssey was the lotus-eaters: if you ate lotus, you'd stay for ever.I can't get away from japonisme since I tasted it. And when you posted these sirens, I thought, lotus,sirens, this is a real Odyssey. What's the next stop of this journey?
I wish I could koan and haiku...
Thank you for sharing your time, taste and knowledge the way you do.
I'll have a bath now. d

25 July, 2009 08:32  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

may i watch?

25 July, 2009 11:24  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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