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10 Sept 2022

Judy
Clarence

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Full Moon

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Sep 25th

Odalisque

Aug 27th

After Odalisque a la Culotte Rouge

by Henri Matisse

            Henri has been painting me all day
            here where I lie, lead-heavy legs
            spread and tucked in these loose red pants,
            in the room with wild wallpaper.
            Oh! For water! Just a sip
            or drop against my lips!
            The wren in the sunny yard,
            warm milk in a cup at sunrise,
            iris blooming like birds; now
            they want watering. For dinner:
            fish again? Fish have water
            aplenty, or they die. Oh!
            for water! Just a sip! Henri,
            when will you be done?
            Can we take a break? I should set the rice
            to cooking, pour water,
            water on the grains and butter too!
            Water. Oh! For water in a pot,
            or glass, or cup, or creek, river,
            ocean?

Behind the poem...

The painting Odalisque a la Culotte Rouge by Henri Matisse hangs in the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris. Visiting there in 2019, my knees aching, I rested on a bench in front of this painting while my son explored the museum. Matisse is well known for his fauvism art, pursuing the purity of human beings, infusing his work with Asian influences. He often used the woman Odalisque as a subject – and it occurred to me that the model who reclined for this painting might've been thirsty after a long period of posing.