David Layden

Amedeo Kisses

Our intellectual contemplation is suddenly violated by fragments from the realm of the senses, as if in the midst of an aesthetic geometry, we were suddenly offered things to touch: a coral necklace, hair, teeth, a nipple.
Janet Hobhouse on Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo kisses his own shoulder every chance he gets.
His women mimic,
put angular cheeks to arms, noses
to armpits.
This is wonderful because they love him, imitation
He paints their sex peeping, almost
hidden under flesh, thighs sighed sorrow sometimes
in their closed eyes at peace or at quiet war.
The attention in the breasts, the line
of roundness, the curve of kindness, the elbow
turned away in profile, shyer than the hair always there,
the eyebrows, the closed lips.
What explains the long downward fingers, the grace
of a palm spread, the arc of full hips afraid of nothing?
Behind them, dark red washed
upon quiet red or blue in between greygreen. The curve,
remember? The straight arm, the folded arm
naked or velveted, peach or brushed rose, it all matters.
The closed eyes become deep with empty
when opened, an alluring thing, a fright
inching towards adore
like Emilyís wide open sick pools of forever
cut out yet still the center, the focus of people who ache
when Amedeo finishes his kisses, picks up his brush.

anna as sunshine

anna, though I understand as hands, has teeth spoken through to unbitten me. arms long through these to her warm and curve beside me pause unbreathe. i waste glad days along her quick follow closebehind upagainst just next to. she is a very almost mostly always shining making shadowed sunny daily. her nameless parts of air that bite and brighten rub my noonday midbreath breathing. she davids me, this thief of clearminds, mouth rounding forming lís oís, you know brimfull of the good words and ready with closed lips to upturn, undo.

On the road it was all ok, all wonderful, Amy made the sun acceptable. This road, name unremembered, sticks to the inside of my mouth tonight. Places lose their name quick sometimes the more you want to remember them. Her wrists, I remember, turned up in the dull sun, they absorbed heat deeply. She put them against me, my face, and they were hot, this I remember. At a gas station I saw half of her fold in the wind, her dress billow back wild as she became less and partial, obscured by the distance, the gate, the door, the wall. She appeared, returned by chance when I was looking direct. Out from that quick cocoon, her hair up and loose, free. She smiled towards the skinny road ahead, at unknowns, and this is wonderful. Not the way she smiled at people but the way she smiled at possibilities, at inanimate things as if they had secrets, as if they shared these. Itís not often that you fall in love with someone for the way they donít look at you. But this is the case, in this case. This car, the miles, the thrip thrip thrip thrip thrip of the road on the wheels, on my ears made me tired, a sideways turn to her and I saw her shoulder, arm, her warm and sleepful lap. Where her hands were folded, my ears wanted to fold into and collapse along with all of this dust, these yellowful flowers, this homeless breath of mine.

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