Kindling/ Modigliani, Schiele

10)Modigliani- Schiele

One day even glittery vagabond princes
fade into sepia. Images stay: elegant
long-necked canvas men keep burning.
Charcoal women, naked except
for their stockings, remain as vital
as ever. And stories stay warm in our mouths:
Schiele’s drawing ignited by an outraged judge
over a candle flame; Modigliani
born under a pile of silver and damask
because by law, no bailiff could raid
the bed of a laboring mother.

But human bodies are lost, killed
by pandemic or tuberculosis
with a side of opium. An uplifted
chin, an intelligent eye. See how the faces
of geniuses haze together, just
like the faces of ordinary people. It’s as if
our great loves can persist but all the little
lights, the ash-flecks and shining teaspoons,
vanish in some general incandescence.

Authors of the article

Carolyn Capps teaches drawing at the University of Virginia and has recently exhibited work at the Chroma Gallery and The Bridge in Charlottesville, Virginia. She grew up in Black Mountain, North Carolina and earned her MFA from the University of Georgia. “We Are Not Our Work” is her first digital collection.

Lesley Wheeler’s poetry collections are The Receptionist and Other Tales; Heterotopia, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize; and Heathen. Her poems and essays recently appeared or are forthcoming in Subtropics, Gettysburg Review, Rattle, and Poetry, and she blogs about poetry at Wheeler is the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.