[Issue 1 / May 2012]

Nudes, and Other Bodies of Work by Beth Boettcher

You could paint me:

vermillion ventricles on the outside

like a walking anatomy text;

stripe me up with bluer veins

than the ones on display now,

pull them out, popped in red-bright

parallel lines, bleed it into the blue,

mix me up like purple prose.

Old words, pictograph and sacrifice.

Spot me like the stalking feline,

the feminine enemy hunting you down.

Gather your courage.

Pollack me in post-pointillist splatter:

that’s what all the girls want

according to all the magazines and the websites.

This is what I want:

my fingers stinking of sharp oils,

my hands slipping in acrylic

like a kindergartener smearing nonsense.

I want to leave my whorl-ish marks on you,

colonize your territory

in an abstract self-portrait.

I mix my metaphors like my media;

like you with your skin all canvas-white,

calling out for color. You’re asking for it.

This is me brushing up against you,

face first, glandular pink.

I could paint you into us.


Beth Boettcher is a writer and woolgatherer, a rusty musician and restless listener, and a slapdash artist focusing on mixed media paintings and handmade books. Her poems have appeared in Certain Circuits, Otoliths, nth position, Pedestal, and Agon (from which she received their Creative Writing Award in 1999). The Howled Chord, her first chapbook, explores the wilderness within and accidents of harmony and dissonance. She currently resides in the Alabama part of Pennsylvania.