In Nickolas Muray’s (Hungarian-born American photographer)1939 portrait of painter Frida Kahlo a crown of purple yarn weaves in and out of her thick black hair, flyaways break loose from her braids. Her favorite shawl, a deep magenta rebozo wraps around her shoulders matching the warm flush of her cheeks and her painted nails—glints of red that call attention to her strong hands. She leans comfortably against a wall gazing resolutely if not lovingly at the camera.
Muray and Kahlo were at the height of their on-again off-again ten-year relationship when these pictures were taken. Their affair had started in 1931 after Muray was divorced from his second wife and shortly after Kahlo’s marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. It outlived Muray’s third marriage and Kahlo’s divorce and remarriage to Rivera by one year, ending in 1941. They remained good friends until her death in 1954.
In the portrait she wears
a coral shawl across her shoulders.
Terracotta lips are set in granite.
Her eyes are the color of the earth,
they scream the anguish of the world.
Her image is etched into tapestry
hung from nails on a farmhouse wall.
She is captured by the hand
of a woman uprising
She is proud
she is Mexico.
poetry by Holly Rene Hunter
I will always disappoint you
my verse is no where near roses
pigment stained and tear smudged
overflowing with sudden downpours
a spiraling monsoon that can
not be held back with the tenderest
I tell lies lovingly
each line a litany of devotion
or a buzzed serendipity.
I will fall in love with the sleeved
heart of every poet.
Save me from obscurity, give me a purpose
sugary rose petals or the embryo
of a pearl washed ashore.
it’s a great day on the putting green
he’s feeling no responsibility.
Scribbled notes mark the
time and day we wipe the tears away
the dead are silent.
Mourners grieve behind closed doors.
It is not my demise nor yours.
We shake our heads and snuff our cigarettes
dig through our closets for the flag.
Come the days when we
reach back into seas of
pinpoint diamonds where like
globes of fire we spun through
glimmering heavens yielding
only to the pull of hearts.
Now the dew falls from our eyes
Not from the sky, the tide pulls
outward and mountains lose
their foothold but a new sun
is rising and we are touched by
the tongue of deepening wisdom
and burning indignation.
I watched him stride down the boardwalk, sit down beside me to people watch pale tourists glowing in the sun. My eyes caught the light that shown through his lips and his elegant hands lifting and dropping like majestic birds. In the long shadows of dusk there are questions in need of soft answers, sunsets slipping down the horizon like hands over sun warmed thighs. He is a sweet breeze through a tropical garden but the sea is enough for me. It’s salty breeze lifting my chin.
Art by Steve Hanks
On sleepless nights
I stroll the left bank in black sequined heels
My Eyelids heavy with smoky glitter.
Among the art I find you
your essence pierces my veins
settles in the pool of my heart
soft lights flicker their last warning in the sad cafe where
like willows we sway to long forgotten love songs
then you are gone a Modigliani reclining never hearing
Je t’aime the only French I know.
Mark Spain Art
“Je t’aime, Je t’aime
Comme un fou, comme un soldat
Comme une star de cinéma
Je t’aime, je t’aime
Comme un loup, comme un roi
Comme un homme que je ne suis pas
Tu vois, je t’aime comme ça”
You with the unruly hair
enticing prey with that
They bore you but the game is
the thing and the road that you
travel howls with the Blue’s train.
You navigate your map of uncharted
pleasures and who could not love you
for dreaming a bold universe beyond
this pale world?
At night You lie down on a river of stars
among drifting shadows of wild things
you are not really tame.
You are getting closer.
I hear the crunch of sand
and the skitter of stones beneath your
boots. The scent of tanned leather stings
my nostrils and fingers of steel butterflies
inflict fresh flesh wounds.
Your feathered crop gently brushes my shivering
shoulders, it floats over proud bones luring me
to the killing fields.
With no where to hide nothing can save me.
You have always known how to break wild horses.