I'm going to cheat a bit on this post something every day challenge. This is a poem written over two decades ago, inspired by a movie. I will be most impressed if you can guess which film.
The window frames her against a peaceful landscape,
then a flutter and her skirt trails down the stairs.
She walks through the city streets
past squawking birds, carts of fruit,
vegetables and herbs, through crowds
and noise and dirt into your studio.
She sits as he asks her to sit.
She is what he wants her to be –
Magdalen with her bottle of oil.
The artist says: “My life has been
one long orgiastic dismemberment.
I grind myself into the pigment. I leave
my fingerprints in the paint,
every moment of self-loss
countered with brutal control.
It’s perverted, this transubstantiation.
How can you compare flesh and blood
with oil and pigment? All art is against
Magdalen is dead, and her savior
died in stylized brutality
centuries ago if it happened at all.
My memories are a series of paintings,
every gesture balanced against another,
every dark with its seed of light.”
While he counts her fee,
she yawns and stretches after such long immobility.
Outside she pauses in the doorway,
hair blown against the peeling frame,
the steps into the street where
her skirt stirs little clouds of dust.