hail to the pure (2002)
(to ivan albright)

With your black warping wood
and your swollen lids;
graying cobwebs spit their grasping dust
from canvas unto skin --
if you were not tangled within them yourself,
under earth (and likely
reveling there, benign and half-smiling)
I would cast aside everything I know,
hold dear and cling to in a single moment
to submit myself to your eyes.

If they could, they would see me, in a
painful-beautiful-hideous view:
the skin I wore that was still new
would wrinkle, pull and gather in
mold and old lace;
my face would hold the sadness
and dreary wear of one hundred years, where lips
pulled down or the neck did pucker,
where eyes though two-dimensional
would balance tangible, orbs of tear
within; never releasing them. I
would know who you saw in me, too intimately,
though it is not the face I wear, but
the one I cradle inside like a glass egg,
knowing with but the softest breath it would shatter.

I would not like what you showed me, and
being so known, so seen, would alarm,
petrify and repulse.
That would not matter; that is the pull.

I do not know you by face or presence,
you were before my time, but I know you
like anyone knows an artist who hits so hard
and so full you have to reach for the wall
to remain upright, Albright. I know you because
in every canvas each delicate, unsteady stroke
holds your psyche up; vulnerable,
frightened, terrible in the beauty of ugliness.

I do not know you by face, I cannot even recall
what it looks like, but were you living I know I would
rush to you, morose at the thought of
being turned away, wanting so to draw you to me,
cover your eyelids with kisses in gratitude
for what you saw, for what you make
me see, for everything you are in paint and person,
I would draw you to me.
I would boil and chill with fever,
with that potent mixture of hero-worship and a
strong desire to protect what must be so delicate
to see fear so clear. I would crave sex that was
raw and tender all at once, in which I know my cunt
would be seen as dripping, hairy ogre's mouth,
and swallowing loudly. I would crave the sort of sex
in which I suspect you would hold back and
keep me wanting, in which I would lose all
security, all confidence, loathe myself, knowing I'd been seen
through warped glass and umber lenses;
knowing I'd no longer have use for pretenses.

I would weep and shriek while I came, my stomach
whirling and sour from a cocktail of overexposure and awe,
sore bite marks on my breasts, or perhaps,
skin left ignored
altogether; my thighs, as worn as old leather
would feel as if they'd crack in the cold.

I would feel horribly alone, emptied
whether you stayed or you
left, silently;
my eyelids Albright-swollen,
my fragile identity all warped wood and
dying flower, and I would coil in and cower
within myself but soon again --
as many times as I could manage --
pray to submit myself to your eyes.

© 2002, 2004 Heather Corinna. All rights reserved.