Friday, October 17, 2014

Greek Slave



Beauty makes me angry,
the way it crawls inside my head,
the way the things it leaves unsaid
echo.

She

stands like a summer full of shine,
all thighs and fine
sinuous lines;
a soft, curved belly,
fed well breasts -
blemishless.

There's no suggestion

of stink,
starvation,
an itchy cunt,
a blunted scream,
or anything
to shame a deep pocket
or blink an appreciative eye.

She

is flawless,
voiceless,
and naked,

but not by choice,
so it's all right.

Process Note:  If you're the less cynical sort, you may believe the Greek Slave's back story.  Powers claimed her to be a Christian woman stripped to be sold as a slave by infidels.  Viewing her nudity is not scandalous or immoral because she is not naked by choice.  However, you may take a more jaundiced view and believe that Powers doth protest too much, that the Greek Slave was accompanied by such an extensively thought out tale only to provide moral cover for prudish Americans who wanted to look at a hot, naked woman without feeling any guilt, and that the notion that it was okay to look at her naked body because she wasn't naked by choice is deeply disturbing on more levels than can be named in one sitting.

I'll let you decide which side of the feminist bed I woke up on this morning.

For Margaret's prompt at Real Toads

18 comments:

Sylvia K said...

No one says it better, MZ!! This is terrific!! Thank you!! Have a great weekend!

manicddaily said...

Ha. Or not ha. Yes. The sculptors of that time were very familiar with slavery as this was done very shortly after the Civil War, and I think even they knew it was all a blind to make a female nude. So does that make it even more hypocritical? I don't know. They were not very feminist for sure, and if you think about it being a time of bloomers and hoop skirts etc--it must have been quite shocking. Hard to understand with today's eyes, but you certainly do a great job of pointing out the craziness of it all. I am always shocked at how smooth the marbles are--the men are too though really--all idealized crazily. No old people either! Maybe why it's not a style/form I tend to like so much - though there's certainly a lot of craft there and beauty too (if you don't look too deep!) k.

manicddaily said...

ps - didn't mean to imply any disagreement with your poem btw--which is mordant and clever and thought-provoking as ever. k.

Shawna said...

This is amazing, MZ. Excellent work.

I especially like this line: "the way it crawls inside my head," and the line break just before "echo," followed by that hanging "She" creating a sort of "She echo" moving backwards.

Love the sound in this part:
"stands like a summer full of shine,
all thighs and fine
sinuous lines"

And the play on breastfeeding with "fed-well breasts," pointing out that her boobs are closer to perfect because they're not stretched out from nursing babies.

I also like the way you added extra meaning to the line "There's no suggestion" by letting it stand alone. Then, going into that next stanza ... that is just fabulous, the way you changed the language to feature more abrasive words.

You may not care for suggestions, so I'm sorry in advance if that's the case. But in the last two lines, you might consider italicizing "but not by choice" and/or saying "so it must be all right" to emphasize your sarcasm.

Again, this is a wonderful poem. I enjoyed it very much.

Gail said...

The poem is beautiful.

Your afterword has me thinking...oh, no, thinking is dangerous.

Have a great weekend.

Sioux said...

I love things sharp. And this one certainly has a bite.

Lolamouse said...

Profound commentary, MZ! Amazing poem!

grapeling said...

I guess I'm no longer a prude, but I don't think this is raunchy, because truth is difficult. ~

Fireblossom said...

Maybe she was some sort of spa slave?? Love the points you made here, especially about there being none of the expected effects.

blueoran said...

Such pretenses, while sounding hilarious coming from an adjacent age to ours, are old, mythic -- male dominance and the subjugation of the goddess was akin to emerging from the sea 500 million years ago, with the subsequent rape of nature by the conscious mind. Still, smooth cold nekkid marble perfection dominates the mind in a form of the Goddess Empire Strikes Back. Just sayin'. :)

Vandana Sharma said...

Woman are an object of desire for some men and care for nothing. So sad to see the plight of the slave woman. Even today in this modern society women are being stripped and the ones who do this have no shame.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I'm with you all the way, MZ. The female form is a thing of beauty, laid bare in brutality and in art. From slave market to music video there seems no end in sight.

hedgewitch said...

I wouldn't change a word of this--it says what it means and it says it both with honesty and by using the subtle call to the mind, the fusion of reason with emotion, with which real poetry makes its case. I totally agree with your interpretation of the festering mess which was Victorian sexuality and gender bias, as well. Fine work, finer, I venture to say, than Powers' ambivalent soft-core porn for the faithful.

Susan said...

Thanks for this hot slice of anger with its bite at the end. I like how you separate the visible/said from the invisible/unsaid. The echo is in my head as well, beauty as it hits a man's eyes was blamed for almost everything, even for the need to subjugate women as wives, slaves, etc.

Margaret said...

This poem twists back upon itself in such an incredible way! Wow. I've read it four times and was thrilled each time. Brava!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ha! YES, to every point made!!!!!!

humbird said...

Beautiful poem! The sculpture? - smooth marble blurry for rough history.

Hannah said...

Thank you for your honesty Mama Zen, your wit and intellect and your heart for important views...if you hadn't gathered, I agree with you.