Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nude Not Descending a Staircase

The nude descending a staircase
never moves--forget reaching the landing.
She stays trapped in that manic
wheatsheaf of lines and angles,
poor thing. I guess Duschamp
felt freer painting it up that way.

True, Mona Lisa is locked in, too,
except she gets to relax,
and her smile's in charge,
whereas the nude not descending
a staircase is always on call
and off balance. She has to be ready
to move, yet isn't allowed
even to get dressed.


hans ostrom 2017
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