Aphrodite in Black and White
#1
(Tried unsuccessfully to insert the photos, but links at bottom allow you to view them if you are curious.)

I.*

Photographed by Papa Bellocq,
five foot “high-head”,
who minced and waddled
down Dauphin
speaking to no one
and no one was interested
in speaking to him.

Born out of a shell of darkness,
an Aphrodite,
but defaced most literally
by the hand of God.

It looks as though
her head was torn off,
left arm cut into a puzzle,
an effect of the reassembled
once shattered glass negative,

so that this goddess 
out of the darkness
seems to lean against a Dali piano
that is melting into night 
while she rides a magic carpet
amid fragments of a disassembling universe.

If only I could trade souls
with Papa Bellocq,
for the moments that it took
to record the living goddess,
to fill in these dark spaces
that keep my goddess
buried alive in this photographic Hell.

II.**

And my alternate goddess,
also created by papa,
Aphrodite Kallipygos,
she reaches for a butterfly,
diamonds in the glass plate,
standing against the wall
she needs no rescue,
she has found the void,
but priestly hands
scratched out her face too,
Bellocq’s brother,
no one knows why
only the faces and leave behind
the nakedness that made
their faces a sin.

*  https://www.moma.org/collection/works/46704

**  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1E0USUzL...sp=sharing
"Poetry is the rhythmic, inevitably narrative, movement from an overclothed blindness to a naked vision."  Dylan Thomas
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#2
Hey Tim-

Since this is MISC, I'll only make general comments.

Thanks for introducing me to Mr. Bellocq and posting the links to some of his damaged work.  Thank you, also, for making me do a search on this fellow, as I'm very interested in people/topics that I would otherwise be completely unaware of.

Regarding the poem, the lines that end each stanza are just oustanding! Good work !

...these dark spaces
that keep my goddess
buried alive in this photographic Hell.


...nakedness that made
their faces a sin.
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#3
I'm gratified to have uncovered Bellocq for you.  Can't remember how or when I came across him, probably in a bookstore or a library decades ago, filed it away.  I've got to credit both the photographs and the book by Al Rose about Storyville.  I can also recommend Louis Malle's Pretty Baby which evokes the melancholy of Bellocq's life although as you read he did not look like Keith Carradine....
"Poetry is the rhythmic, inevitably narrative, movement from an overclothed blindness to a naked vision."  Dylan Thomas
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