May a woman possess Heraclitus’s pose in The School of Athens, or The Thinker’s
posture? May a woman possess the man’s position without permission, but keep her submissiveness, her quaintness? May she wear dark blue instead of powdered pink? Or step into the hallway unaccompanied by a man? She may, but she’s awfully sorry about it. She can wear pants and cut her hair to her shoulders, but she needs kitten heels and red lips. May a woman be a woman in a room full of women who embody their husbands? Even if she loves her own, may she ponder alone? Either way, she’s been painted by her husband.
To love a woman is to let her walk out of the movie theatre, and not question her. Don’t tell her what she’s missed; she won’t ask. She needs a minute, maybe two. And not because she’s off her medicine or because she’s started reading again. Maybe she’s been talking to the parlor walls. She won’t need her stomach pumped this time, but you’ll want to have it done to her. Against her will, as a witch posted to a stake. Make sure her cheeks are rosy and her smile is pearly, but when she starts to sing, start the fire. You only love her when she’s laughing agreeably at your saltine flavored jokes. And though you admire the female figure, do you seek a greater purpose in the way she composes a piece for you? Practically guiding your brush across the wavering curtain of her breasts. Are you truly the artist at work?
Are you to judge a walking looking glass? She is the one you married, Mr. Hopper. You painted her. You create her, build her into your perfect girlie magazine lover. Yet you diminish her love by painting her body and her hair pinned up at all times, and you take away from what goes on in her mind by seeking her soul through her hips. You sit in the noir opalescence waiting for her to come back into your wrinkled arms. You do like her best in the hallway. Despite her endless efforts to love and cherish your soul. She could never compare to the sunrise on the steel
of a railroad track or the bricks of a building you’ve never touched. She’s your muse only when dopamine strikes your belly and moves downward.
You are Robert Louis Stevenson reincarnated, Mr. Hopper. A modern day F. Scott and his Zelda. A wife with the same passion will always force herself into the hallway. Never get your money where you get your honey.Between the red velvet, cadmium moonlight, and malted whiskey lingering on your flat lips, you choose to ignore the reason she stormed out. Later, you may fight with her. Domestic viol– love. It’s because I love you.She will never tell you the real reason why she crosses her legs when you try to pry them open, or why she glues her lips together when she has an idea that might be better than yours. She believes one day she will
make it for herself.
“Her fight and fury’s fiery
Oh, but she loves
Like sleep to the freezing
Sweet and right and merciful”
Mr. Hopper, in your gallery, in years to come, the ghost of you will sit in the corner. Not at the automat or the counter of a rusty diner. You will watch people with no idea who you are staring in awe at your brushwork, and taking pictures of themselves in front of what you spent weeks on. And she is only to be found in reminiscent paintings you have done. She won’t ever be found. She was buried with herself, though you stay in the corner. You live on in infamy. She will still be there, though, even if she is sorry for her life. She’ll be so proud of you. She knew
you could do it, even if she’d hit you and you’d hit back.
Solitary confinement is a heavenly oasis compared to what you painted so beautifully. No one cares to notice this, but you may always remember: she’ll be there. She’ll be there in all of her beauty in the dead of night, in the hallway, by herself, standing. Pondering thoughts she will never dare say to your face. If she does let them slip from her lips, she’ll go back inside the movie theatre and sit beside you. You live for the pain, Mr. Hopper. Doesn’t every artist? Starving, maybe not for food, but for another New York Movie.