Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: Etta Cone

Woman With a Mango

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Woman With A Mango (by Gauguin): Etta Cone

 

Gertrude you are a Gertrude are a Gertrude

no one in Baltimore is a Gertrude anymore

If you can’t say anything nice about anyone

come sit next to me

you said

and I did

under Mother and Child come sitting

in Baltimore in Paris in Baltimore

no one is a Gertrude is a Gertrude enough

 

There were the two of us, you said, we were not sisters

We were not large not then we were not rich

we were not so different one from the other one

an eye was an eye was an eye, gazing

 

A woman would smell

a woman would hold out her smell and smell and petals

would drop from Large Reclining Nude

white petals cool and fragrant and soft

and dropping and dropping and dropping down

Three Lives my fingers sore my wrists aching typing

Come sit next to me you said

and I did sit I did sit I sat and sat and after I sat I sat and sat

 

I typed until the “G” key stuck

Three lives, yours, Claribel’s, mine

I was sitting and sitting under

Woman With a Mango under Blue Nude

I was sitting with textiles draped over me

hoping their weight

but they are not you, because you have–

Alice? Alice? Alice?

 

Is an Alice?

Gertrude you undertake to overthrow my undertaking

You say my dessicated loneliness is

across the ocean in Baltimore and you pull Alice onto

your lap on the large brown broken armchair

where you sat with me

while Pablo’s portrait strains above

You sit, running Alice’s hair through your hands

her hair through your fingers

Your fingers in my hair unpinning tangling

your lips against my neck

There is no there there now

anymore

there is Henri there is Vincent there is Paul and Paul there is Gustave

my neck a neck is a neck with a rose

that died and petals like brown rain

I like what is, you said

I like what is mine I like it

 

*with reference to: Three Lives, Stanzas in Meditaion (VII), Sacred Emily, by Gertrude Stein

-from the book Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes by Jane Eaton Hamilton 2014

Ekphrastic poetry to start your week

I was happy to find that Canadian Poetries this morning published 3 of my ekphrastic poems: the first about Van Gogh, the second about Degas’ sculpture La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, and the third an imagined love affair between art collectors Etta Cone and Gertrude Stein.

By the way, one of my pet art-world peeves is the reluctance to name (fairly obvious) dykes.  It’s homophobic.  We wouldn’t be reluctant to call someone straight, but there seems to be some sort of politesse about calling someone queer without proof, like it’s shameful, or distateful, an icky thing to be.

For instance, despite the inescapable conclusion that most people have or had a sexual life, women like photographer Vivian Maier are completely de-sexualized.  Wtf?  So irritating to me.

From correspondence between Gertrude Stein and Etta Cone, it seems more than evident that Etta was thrown over for Alice and was quite hurt, and that Gertrude extended consider effort to mollify her.

And also, while I’m ranting, it now seems evident to scholars that Van Gogh came out/was more actively bisexual in Paris and was seriously over-the-moon for Gauguin, a bisexual (and total heel/wife-batterer).  During their time together in Arles, it looks like Van Gogh got clutchy and Gauguin rejecting and Gauguin, a fencer, chopped off VG’s ear.  My take on it is that VG, after a young religious life, was likely tormented by his inclinations–and perhaps this was a big part of what was considered his madness.  And perhaps part of why he was killed in Auvers, if indeed he was shot by a young bully as is now thought.

Canadian Poetries

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