Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Museum

I love that the art museum in Cleveland is free, because when you're in a mood (like I am) you can just roll up in. When I was younger, I remember being shocked when I visited other cities that you had to pay to visit their art museums. To me it seemed unthinkable, like charging admission to a library.

This was my favorite piece of art when I was a little girl. I loved this little girl's clear expression and her beautiful gray dress. I told my dad I wanted a dress like that.

Guys take their dates there. Of course everyone's been, but a couple can feel each other out, by listening to what the other thinks of certain pieces. When I go with my friends, I love to tell them what I think of the Egyptian and Etruscan art, and then the Impressionist and Surrealist art.

Some of it is so old and so finely rendered they have to keep it in the basement, far away from the light of the sun.

I wonder what merchant's wife wore the beautifully worked gold necklace saw. Was she older or younger? Was the marriage arranged? Did her husband take joy in her presence?

Did she love her necklace, in other words, because it was gold and precious or because it came from him?

I can't tell you how many Code of Hammurabi-era bodice rippers I've made up in my head from the time I was like seven until now.

Poetry about artwork is called ekphrasis. Look at the sexy, bold Greek-ness of that word! "I'm working on an ekphratic piece." Saying things like that is almost enough to make people forget to make a snide comment about me throwing my money away on a poetry degree. Almost.

I'm writing about The Death of Marat.


I actually read about the death of Marat before I ever saw it. One thing about his death struck me in particular. As he was dying he called, "Aidez-moi, ma chere amie." That is, my dear friend, help me. At first, I thought he was crying out to no one, in desperation. Later I learned he was calling Simone, his paramour, elsewhere in the building. I also learned all about Charlotte Corday, his assassin. It was a fascinating story, though I'm still not sure why I was so compelled by it.

I wrote:

In the Death of Marat, I am Marat, composing, humming
nothing too memorable, nothing complex, for soon I must be killed.

And of course there's much more but I can't put it here if I intend to publish this piece, which I do. Elsewhere in poetry, I'm trying to do a residency, or go into artistic seclusion and work on my manuscript. There's one in the woods of Minnesota I really like where you get your own private room, studio space and free meals.

And in health news I finally found a doctor willing to treat my pain after what, two years? She is very kind. On the day of my appointment my dad was actually late coming back with the car so I walked the office which was 4 miles away and up a large hill. I thought I was going to die. My clothes were stuck to me with sweat, sweat was pouring down my forehead and by the time I got to the building I couldn't quite hold myself up and was clinging to the walls

It's typical of me, to be impulsive and not necessarily exercise good judgment. I just knew I didn't want to wait three more months.

Next up, I think I might talk about my undying affection for fashion and how every doctor gets to see me in mascara, in tights and dresses and hats and oxfords. I miss being in Chicago honestly, because no one in Cleveland seems very interested in how they dress. Ugg boots, jeans, fleeces and puffer vests. I feel like a tourist in my own city sometimes.


Rusty Hoe said...

I love going to the museum. Our local ones have free wheelchairs for hire which make it possible for me to now go again. I can't imagine having to pay either, it just seems wrong. I grew up in the country and whenever we came to the city (once or twice a year)part of the treat was to go to the museum and the national gallery. My kind of bliss.

The retreat sounds wonderful. To have such time to devote to something you love would be amazing. I hope you get to do it.

So glad to hear you have a new pain doc, I hope she can give you some relief.

Yvette said...

Hey Michelle, My dad always took me to museums as a kid, so I have a ton of fond memories of them. Great that you do too.

I really hope I get the residency too. I'm so nervous. And I'm really glad about my doctor, she's so sweet. Especially after all I've been through, to be honest.