Poems from Sharon Tracey


— Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1790); oil on canvas; 100 x 79 cm

After all those years painting patron Marie Antoinette

and her royal court, all those diamond pebbles

and blue veins throbbing under sweating temples

before the Queen’s beheading—here the artist’s mindset

turns to I, a mirrored gaze, some gauzed muslin

wrapped around her head of curls, not to obscure

her plan—but to find herself—inside the contours

of the body, subject and object becoming one.

How do we ever know when the work is done?

Palette and brushes clutched in her left hand, she makes

what seems a final mark with her right, to finish

herself—absorbed like water taken by a sponge.

Link : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lebrun,_Self-portrait.jpg

Amelia Peláez 1896-1968

(b. Yaguajay, Cuba)


When she passed the pescado & circled back

for the four of them

what was floating through her mind—

why did she decide to paint them like stained glass—

fire red, yarrow yellow, hornet green—

splayed overlapping on the serving plate

startled eyes filling holes & all that black

crowded with criollo, wrought iron

the table clothed, the balustrade baroque—

where did she learn to cut patterns for a cubist cloth

ornamental as an ornament of love, instrumental

as an instrument of need, so lavishly adorned—

Somewhere in Havana there is a house

inside every house lives a woman

inside the woman

a bird

in its beak

a voice

Link: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/78714

About Sharon Tracey

Sharon Tracey is a writer, editor, and author of the poetry collection, What I Remember Most Is Everything (ALL CAPS PUBLISHING, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Common Ground Review, Canary, Silkworm, Ekphrasis, and elsewhere. She holds a Master's degree from the University of California Berkeley and lives in western Massachusetts. www.sharontracey.com


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